Monthly Archives: October 2017

Stranger 7/100 – CJ

Stranger-7-CJStranger 7/100 – CJ

When making street portraits you have good days and bad days. This was definitely a good day…

As I Walked down Tryon Street, I spotted this handsome and stylish man sitting on a bench.

Meet CJ.

CJ just arrived in Charlotte from his home in Washington DC. He’s here visiting family and friends, and so far he thinks Charlotte is very pretty. When not working he said he’s “just chilling.”

CJ is very friendly and laid back. He has a relaxed sense of confidence that permeates through the camera lens. He put up no barriers and left no distance between his face and the camera.

This project has already taught me about the power of connecting with strangers. My encounter with CJ only lasted 60 seconds, but with a simple gesture of reaching out, I was able to briefly stare into the eyes of a stranger. I was able to capture a timeless image of someone that I otherwise might have walked by without even noticing.

Thank you CJ for being part of my project.

Technical Notes: This photo was taken in natural light in a shaded area. He was somewhat backlit, but I was able to bring up his skin tones in Lightroom. I took pictures from two different angles. They both looked good, but the backgrounds weren’t very attractive. Once I saw this tight crop, I got goosebumps.

Stranger 6/100 – Donna

Stranger-6-DonnaWhile hanging around Tryon Street near The Green (a small Charlotte park with a world literature theme), I spotted an interesting couple walking around one side of a circular grassy area. I quickly walked around the other side so I could “casually” run into them.

They said they were in a hurry, so I had to act fast and wasn’t able to ask them many questions.

Meet Donna.

Donna is from Costa Rica and was visiting Charlotte with her companion Fuji. Her beautiful red scarf and purple eyeglass frames definitely accentuate her bubbly personality. She was enthusiastic about my 100 Strangers project and was very gracious to give a few minutes of her time.

Meeting you and Fuji was one of the highlights of my day. I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Charlotte.

Technical Notes: This photo was shot out in the open on a relatively sunny day. The sun was behind a cloud providing us with nice soft light. No flash or reflectors used.

Stranger 5/100 – Aleah

100 Strangers - AleahWalking by Two Wells Fargo Plaza, I noticed this beautiful, soft light that seemed perfect for a portrait. I quickly looked around for a suitable stranger and, as luck would have it, this young, photogenic female was walking by.

Meet Aleah.

Aleah is 19 and lives in Charlotte. She was in the uptown area with her boyfriend and is currently in the process of enrolling into a community college.

When aksed what she does when she’s not working or going to school, she replied “Right now I’m very much of a homebody.”

When asked what advice she would give her younger self, she said “Look up more.” In other words, get out of your bubble and your head and pay more attention to the outside world. In today’s technological world, this is advice we can all take to heart.

It was a pleasure to meet you Aleah especially under such serendipitous conditions. Thanks so much for participating in my 100 Strangers project.

Technical Notes: This photo was taken in an open plaza with light grey pavers. The sun was behind a building and the light was very soft. If I could do it over, I would have rotated her 90 degrees counter clockwise to light her face more evenly and reduce the shadow on her right side.

Stranger 4/100 – Abigail

100 Strangers - Abby
As I walked past the Bank of America building in downtown Charlotte, a young lady asked about the reflector I had hanging from my hip. I explained what it was used for and then quickly told her about my 100 Strangers project. I asked her if I could take her portrait and she quickly said yes.

Meet Abigail.

Since we were in harsh sunlight, I suggested we keep moving until we find some shade. Abigail was adamant that we visit a particular statue and made a big point about how much it looked like an erect penis (it actually did).

Abigail has worked in the copy center of the Fifth Third Bank building for about a year. She wants to start her own business — a web site that promotes all-natural organic products. One of her slogans is “When you’re healthy, you’re happy.”

The advice she would give her younger self is: “I would have stuck to the first thing i went to school for — Business Administration. I changed my major so many times.”

When asked what message she would put on a billboard, without hesitation, she said “Eat more plants!”

Her alternate billboard message was “Share the love”. She went on to say “So many times we’re so egotistic and we’re just all about ourselves. We all share the same emotions. What you want, I want. Just to be happy and to have love. So many times we just put people down. It’s easier to tear people down than to build them up.”

It was a pleasure to meet you Abigail and thank you for the inspiration.

Technical Notes: This photo was taken in natural light with no flash or reflectors. We were in complete shade from the building she was standing in front of. I chose a tight crop to focus the viewer on Abigail’s face.

Stranger 3/100 – Will

I took a short trip up to Durham, NC to see and photograph the band Touché Amoré. After the second opening band finished, I headed outside the venue to take a break. As I glanced over the crowd milling around outside the Motorco Music Hall, this gentleman caught my eye.

Meet Will.

Will is from the neighboring city of Raleigh and works at North Carolina State doing IT work. He’s also the bassist for a hardcore band called Oxidant.

When asked about a cause he believes in he said “I think veganism is important, but I don’t feel like I’d push that on everyone. Not everyone can be vegan necessarily because everyone has different dietary needs.”

When asked what advice he’d give to his younger self, he said “I think I’m a strange person because I don’t think I’ve changed that much. I wish I could tell myself to be less awkward or kind of be more outgoing… I don’t really know.”

Approaching complete strangers can be challenging but Will made it so easy with his relaxed and confident personality. Thanks so much Will for being part of my 100 Strangers project, and it was a pleasure to meet you.

Technical Notes: This picture was taken at night, so I positioned Will under the neon sign of the venue. There was also a very bright streetlight lighting him from his left side. The out of focus lights behind him created an interesting background element.