Shortly after photographing Justin (stranger #1), I crossed Tryon Street and headed towards the main library. There were two women taking pictures of each other in front of the Charlotte Buddy Bear — a 7-foot tall artistic bear statue given to Charlotte by several German organizations. I offered to take a picture of both of them using their cell phone, and they were happy for me to do so. As I turned to leave, I saw this guy smiling at us as he walked by.
Al seemed friendly and approachable, so I quickly walked up next to him, said “hi” and asked him how his day was going. He just came from the library and had been been filling out employment forms. I asked him what kind of work he’s looking for and he said “anything”. He had previously done work shooting video for different groups.
Al is from a smaller city southeast of Charlotte and has family all over the Charlotte area. When I told him about the 100 Strangers Project, he smiled and said “…and I’m one of them.”.
We walked a little further down the street together after taking the photo. I wasn’t able to learn much more about Al as our conversation was interrupted twice with music blasting out of a nearby car and again with a loud argument on the sidewalk.
I wished him luck with the job search and he wished me luck with the 100 Strangers project.
Technical Notes: I only took three photos over a timespan of less than 15 seconds. All shots were natural light with no reflector or flash. I directed him to hold a serious pose for the first two which looked great. Then I told him he could smile if he wanted to. He turned his head away and came back showing some teeth. This is the picture I chose because I felt it showed more of his personality.