Category Archives: Street Photography

Stranger 42/100 – Desi

Stranger-42–DesiOur next stranger stood out from the crowd of bustling people returning to work from lunch. I caught him while he was hanging out before going to work.

Meet Desi.

Desi has been skateboarding for eleven years. “I hang out with a bunch of locals in the neighborhood. There’s a bunch of skaters in Charlotte.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Listen to my parents. I kind of flew my own way.”

What would they have told you? “Stay in school. Go to college.”

What are your goals? “Right now, I’ve got this big old skateboarding thing going on. Hopefully I’ll be taking off with that.”

Are you trying to get sponsored? “I’ve been courting them for about four years. I’ve got to send more videos out.”

Thank you Desi for being part of the 100 Strangers Project. Best of luck in getting sponsored.

Stranger 41/100 – Tim

Stranger-41–Tim.jpgOur next stranger had such a cool look that I had to approach him and learn what he’s all about.

Meet Tim.

What brings you uptown? “Well, I work across the street at Charlotte Center City Partners. I’m the artist in residence there, so I do all the music programming for all the city funded events. So, right now I’m working on the big Thanksgiving parade that’s going to be on this street.”

What advice would give to your younger self? “Be patient. I’m a musician. My father was a professional musician. I grew up surrounded by some of the most talented and gifted musicians and artists and singers in the world. You know what I mean? I think, because of that, I’ve spent my whole life in a rush to get somewhere. So I’ve seen that life takes it’s own course. You kind of get to sit back and enjoy the ride. Patience is everything.”

What are your goals? “When I was younger, I wanted to work for a record label, but the record industry is non-existent. I started managing some groups a few years ago, and I really enjoyed it and had a really good knack for it. People started calling me and having me put things together. That kind of took me to the event production and event management world, and I’ve really taken strongly to it. So I just want to keep growing in that capacity. And I don’t know what that looks like yet. I don’t know if that means I’m going to start my own event management company one day or if I’ll just freelance… I don’t know yet. But, I’m enjoying this space. I’ve learned to be patient, so I’m not going to rush myself this time around.”

So you must be a people person? “Oh, yeah. Absolutely. I have to be.”

Being a musician might be kind of lonely? “It’s only lonely if you make it a lonely existence. I’ve never been in the spotlight. I play drums. You know what I mean? I’ve never been at the front of the stage in the spotlight. Sometimes for those kind of people it can be lonely I guess because there may be a different pressure”

“I feel like singers and musicians, we’re all part of the same community… the sound technicians and the roadies and the tech guys have the same relationships that you have. It’s just about knowing your place and understanding that we’re all in this together and we all need each other to make these shows work.”

“Everybody has to feel important and I want to make everybody feel comfortable enough to where they feel good about doing their job. So, at the end of the day, we can all leave the event feeling good about what we did. That’s important.“

Technical Notes: Tim was well lit from the street on his right side, and I used a small LED panel from below to add more light to the left side of his face.

Stranger 40/100 – Katelyn

Stranger-40–KatelynI met our next stranger after she and her companion got kicked out of a black tie event at Belk Theater.

Meet Katelyn.

“Well, I really thought there was an opera tonight, and there is an opera. My school told me I could come to the opera and it would be complimentary. We came on the wrong night and we just got kicked out of Belk Theater because we were so underdressed. And we didn’t realize it was such a big thing and I came on the wrong night, so we just got kicked out.”

Well, you seem well dressed to me… “That’s what we thought! I even asked them ‘do I look ok?’”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Stand up for the things you believe in as soon as you can. Stand up for yourself because I didn’t do it fast enough.”

And what made you realize that? “Basically, I was always quiet, and I let people tell me what to do and just kind of push me around. I just hit this point where I got tired of saying yes to everyone and just wanted to tell them that I’m not ok with it.”

Do you have any goals? “Yeah, I’m actually in college to be a photojournalist. My goal is to travel a lot. I’ve been travelling a lot recently and I’m trying just to keep travelling as much as I can and meeting as many people as I can. And I’m sad I didn’t come out with my camera tonight, but I didn’t know…”

What makes you interested in photojournalism? “I started really young doing mission work, and a lot of people saw the people that we were helping as exotic and poor people and like Neanderthals. I just feel like I got on a different level with them and I understand these people. I want to use photojournalism as an outlet for people to see people for who they truly are rather than what they assume they are.”

Where would you want to go on your first assignment? “I started doing mission work in Honduras and that’s where my home is and all my people and my heart and all my friends. I would love to go back and just really show who they are.”

What would you do if you had a million dollars? “If I had a million dollars… I’ve actually been thinking about that lately. A large chunk of it would go to my mom… single mom, hard times, you know… love my mom. Probably to Puerto Rico… probably to Honduras and probably to Charlotte’s education system. And then I would want to buy or build a small cabin because I’ve always wanted a tiny house. 400 square foot… that’s what I’ve wanted my whole life.”

Thank you Katelyn and best of luck in your photojournalism career.

Technical Notes: This is the second night portrait I’ve attempted with a handheld LED light. I set the light to a warm setting (3200K) and correspondingly set the color temperature to 3200K in Lightroom. The ISO registered at 500, adding a little noise, and the bokeh lights got burned in a little bit. To fix this next time, I’ll turn the light up to a brighter level.

Stranger 39/100 – Mel

Stranger-39–Mel.jpgI spotted our next stranger near the library and regretted not approaching him for a portrait. Luckily, I ran into him again near 4th Street.

Meet Mel.

What brings you uptown today? “Travelling, actually. A few people, we’re on a camping tour, and we’re just kind of hanging out right now until things liven up, until the event starts.”

Where do you come from? “New Haven, Connecticut.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Probably be a little bit more patient and less temper, ready to strike on people so much.”

What changed all of that? “Life… struggles changed a lot of things for me.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “I don’t know, so it’s a mystery {laughs}. The biggest challenge hasn’t happened yet. It’s just small challenges.”

What is your passion? “My passion is making things. I like to make jewelry. I like meeting people. I like communicating and talking.”

How would your friends describe you? “They would describe me as odd. Most of them look at me in a way where I have good energy, so they like to be around me, but they also see that I’m a little bit crazy too. So they just kind of deal with me.”

Technical Notes: We were on a shady street corner, and Mel was facing some bright buildings.

Stranger 38/100 – Bini

100 Strangers - Bini“I’m a food blogger, so I go around Charlotte trying different food. It’s called Bini Eats.”

Meet Bini.

What does food mean to you? “I just want to share different culture’s food. A lot of people are so comfortable with what they’re eating. They don’t want to go out and try new food. I want to show that Charlotte is beautiful and there’s so many good places that I want to share.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Love yourself. You know I moved from Nepal when I was little and I’ve always tried to adjust with everyone around me, like try to be them. But then, I forget the unique me. I’m from Nepal, that already makes me unique, and I want to like express that and love myself.”

How old were you when you moved here? “Ten. I’ve moved from places to places, different schools all the time, so it’s always been adjusting myself. I think I’m happy where I am right now.”

What is your biggest challenge? “My passion is to travel, and I’m just looking for ways to travel around the world, share people’s stories, find different, unique food and explore places that people have never been before.”

Where do you want to be in ten years? “You know, I’ve always been in a family where all you do is get a job, get married, have kids… it’s always been like that. In my family everyone is a doctor or a dentist, you know, so there’s high hopes. There’s like that thing that’s set on me that you have to do something like that. But, honestly, I just want to find peace of mind maybe be like in a tropical island selling ice cream to little kids, doing yoga… in that spiritual vibe. I just want to find that.”

Technical Notes: Bini chose this colorful mural as the backdrop for her portrait, and it definitely suits her personality. I used a small LED panel to light up the left side of her face.

Stranger 37/100 – Kara

Stranger-37–KaraI spotted our next stranger with a friend in one of our city parks called The Green.

Meet Kara.

“I’m a labor and delivery nurse.”

How long have you been doing that? “About a year and four months.”

And what do you think of it so far? “I love it… very challenging, very rewarding.”

Is that something you want to do for a long time? “Yeah, I want to catch babies eventually. I want to be a midwife and catch them.”

What do you like to do for fun? “I like to do yoga. I like to shop, sleep, eat… just hang around the city.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “That nothing was as serious as it seemed back then. Yeah, just live and be who you want to be and really figure out your voice. Because nobody else can live your life except you. Love yourself. Do your own thing. Have your own voice.”

Was that something that was hard to discover? “Yeah, I think, especially in high school, you’re still living with your parents, so you’re still kind of following what they want you to be. And then you go to college or you venture out into the world and you figure out what you really do like, what makes you tick, what makes you happy. And, after a while, your parents aren’t responsible for you. They do the best they can with your upbringing, but then it’s up to you to make yourself a great person.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “Adulting… {laughs} Adulting is hard! Work-life balance. And as we’re growing up, my friends, we’re doing different things. People are getting married and having kids. So definitely trying to maintain friendships. Adulting… you know, is hard… but it’s fun.”

How would your friends describe you? “Very spontaneous, but serious. Quiet, but loud. It’s like my life is just like total contradictions. I can be very quiet. I can be very loud. I can be very shy, but then I’m also outgoing. But I’m very loving and loyal, so those things are constant.”

Technical Notes: This photo was taken at the end of the day as the sun was setting. Kara’s face was lit by sunlight bouncing off a nearby building.

Stranger 36/100 – Nicole

100 Strangers - NicoleI heard intense laughter in the distance. Following the sound, I came across a group of four friends taking pictures of each other.

Meet Nicole.

What advice would you give your younger self? “To travel more and just become more experienced in life.”

How would your friends describe you? “Crazy, funny… I don’t care what other people think. I just do me.”

“I teach kindergarten in a dual language program. I teach the English portion and then my partner does Spanish.”

What is your biggest challenge? “The school system is crazy right now, so it’s a lot that they’re putting on teachers. I’m just trying to juggle the love of teaching as well as the demands of what the state and the nation are putting on teachers.”

What would you do if you had a million dollars? “Travel the world. I would move abroad… South America, that’s where I’m actually planning next year, South America and Central America.”

Is there a particular country…? “Right now, I’m looking at Nicaragua and Bolivia.”

Technical Notes: This photo was taken with natural light on a clear, sunny day in a shaded area. I chose this photo because I liked the mix of warm and cool light on Nicole’s hair.