One of my goals for the New Year has been to ask strangers on the street if I can get a photograph of them. It’s been a success so far with the first subject found in Kenosha, a town filled with sights such as retro signage, Lake Michigan, and even an old trolley!
After a day of exploring the city and working up the courage to speak to a stranger, I found an older gentleman sitting in a chair. He was out on this cold windless day for a smoke break.
Still a bit nervous, I came up to ask if I could get a quick photograph of him. He quietly agreed and flicked his cigarette away before readjusting himself for his photograph.
Without instruction, he looked at me without a smile, a stern but open look on his face. I snapped a quick shot before thanking him for his time and wishing him a good rest of the day.
And from there my point of view kind of shifted.
While I’m friendly to people, I’m a pretty shy person. It was a shock how calmly this stranger reacted to my request; it was the exact opposite of how I thought he’d respond. It was an exhilarating feeling to go up to someone I knew nothing about and to request something as personal as getting a photograph of them.
It was even more exhilarating when they agreed.
Of course as I’ve also learned, you get your fair share of negative responses, but it’s worth it for the occasional “Yes” you’ll hear from a stranger’s mouth. The experience taught me to be a bit more open and friendly to this world, and I can’t wait to grow even more as I photograph more people.
Already I can feel myself getting more friendly and invested in these strangers, wanting to learn their names and stories. As time goes on and my confidence builds, I look forward to learning more and more about these fellow humans of Wisconsin.
Who knows, maybe I’ll even get a photograph of you, if you happen to be drifting through America’s Dairyland.
If you’d like to see more of the strangers I’ve met so far, take a look at the “Street” section of my photography. Feel free to let me know what you think of them in the comments below or by sending me a message directly.
Either way, I hope you enjoyed this short read and that you come back next week Monday for my next post!