Welcome to my first 100 Strangers portrait! Since I discovered the 100 Strangers project in early September 2017, I knew it was something I had to do. Basically, the goal is to approach strangers on the street, take their portrait and learn a little about them. Of course there are many technical challenges of shooting different people in changing environments, but the biggest challenge is stepping out of your comfort zone and approaching complete strangers.
I live in Charlotte, NC (USA) which has a population of about 800,000. While walking around the city center, I locked eyes with this stylish individual sitting on a bench.
Justin is a rapper who is also known as Manok $ Roe. He described his style as a cross between Prodigy (Mobb Deep) and Jadakiss. As he was talking, a guy told him that he sounded like Frank Sinatra (which he took as a big complement).
He told me that his average day is “trying to survive and provide for my family”. He has a little girl and a son on the way.
When asked if he was getting any traction on YouTube, he said “I’m not speaking what they want to hear. They want to hear lies, and I’m telling the truth”.
Best of luck in the future Justin. I hope our paths cross again.
Technical Notes: I realized after the fact that I should have used a reflector (which I had with me) to light the right side of his face and shirt. I took a couple shots of him up against a building but they looked a bit flat, so I repositioned him on the curb which created a more dynamic background. I captured several frames with different hand gestures, but I found this simple, relaxed pose to be the most compelling.