I decided today to start a long-considered project to make portraits of strangers. It’s not an original idea – many others have done it before – but the aim is to make one-hundred portraits of people I don’t know. This is not something that comes naturally to me, both from a technical photographic angle – portraiture is not something I’ve done very much of – and also from a social aspect. By nature, I’m something of a shy, somewht introverted person, and approaching someone I don’t know to ask them if I can make their portrait is a definite challenge. So it was with no little trepidation that I decided to make a start today.
I decided that I will shoot all the portraits with my Yashica Mat 124G and use Kodak Portra 400. The choice of camera is for a number of reasons:
- It makes nice photographs
- I like the square format for portraits
- I’ll hopefully get better quality images from a medium format camera
- Because it’s a TLR, I hope that it will be disarming / start conversations in a way that an SLR maybe wouldn’t
The Portra was chosed because:
- It looks great
- It has a excellent exposure latitude which gives me flexibility when shooting in changeable light.
The first person I asked today said no, which wasn’t the best for my already shaky confidence, but I perservered, and the next two people both agreed to let me make their portraits. In all, out of fourteen people I asked, just three declined to take part, and there was no animosity whatsoever from anyone.
I photographed a range of people, both men and women, young and old. A couple of my subjects had cameras, so I approached them thinking that they might be more embracing of the idea of my taking their photo. A couple were street musicians, so they’re probably used to being photographed. Everyone else was a person who looked approachable, including a girl manning an ice-cream van, a couple of men who looked like they might be waiting for their wives to come out of shops, and a girl carrying a large potted plant. The latter girl asked what I would do with the photos, so I gave her the name of my blog. If you’re reading this, thank you agian for letting me make a portrait. 🙂
On the whole I was very pleased with how the day turned out and it gives me confidence to do the same again. I’ll get the film sent off for processing next week and will hopefully have some results in a few days time. Fingers crossed that they turn out ok!
For today however, I’ll post a few more of the re-scanned Ektachrome slides that I shot at a steam rally last year. The film really seems to lift in good light.
Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 D & Kodak Ektachrome.
Taken on 30 June 2019