(Click on the image above for the full gallery…)
A couple of weeks ago I took my dad’s old Pentax 35mm camera with some black&white film and took a walk around Munich. The idea was to do portraits of people I met on the street. I spent three hours asking people if I could make a photograph of them, and in the end, I guess about 50% of the people I asked gave me permission. When I decided to quit and go home, I was surprised how tired I was. I’m not an exceptionally shy person, but breaking down that first barrier and introducing yourself to a complete stranger always takes an effort for me. It also struck me how hard to read some people are. One person looked so deeply lost in thought that I almost didn’t dare to introduce myself. It turned out to be one of the warmest and most positive encounters of the day… In general, with really only one exception, all the people were very kind, even if they didn’t want me to take their picture. If you are thinking about doing the same thing (the idea is not new after all…), a couple of words of advice: don’t interrupt, be respectful, be mindful whether a person is in a hurry and don’t press the issue if the person is uncomfortable. Another thing: at the beginning it does hurt when someone tells you “No”. It’s a natural reaction I guess. But don’t let yourself be discouraged if someone doesn’t want his picture being taken. Because a single positive encounter can really make your day and possibly do the same for the person you approached.
Check out the full gallery here.
Will I do it again? Absolutely! It was a fantastic experience. Just thinking back to some of these encounters brings a smile to my face.
And there’s one thing I’ve decided to do from now on: I’m going to try and treat anybody who has to earn his living by chatting up people with respect and if I don’t want to answer their poll or do an interview or whatever, I am going to try and be nice and respectful about it. It’s tougher than it looks.