An experiment: Talk to strangers on the street and ask if I take a portrait of them.

In Stuttgart, around the Schloßplatz, I aproached people and asked them if I could take a picture of them. Why?
In photography, I always search for new challenges. Shooting portraits I find exciting and at the same time, working with a model is always exhausting for me: To make the program, to design the setup, direct the model, bring out the interesting sides of a person, to help overcome shyness being in front of a camera. Yet I like beautiful portraits.
At the same time I often do street photography, without asking people, candid. Somehow unfair. Now the other way around: ask first, then take a pictures!

This was a very exciting experience:

  • Overcome my own inhibitions, simply appeal to strange people
  • Tell them my plan and reasons in a few words
  • Shooting a couple of images without bothering the people for too long
  • Changing lighting conditions: shadow, blazing sun, half shadows
  • Different backgrounds
  • A lot of positive feedback
  • Nice chats with the people
  • And: Beautiful photos

The whole thing went a little over 2 hours and I have taken pictures of 31 people during that time. Only 10 people said “no”. Amazing, I expected more to refuse.
Many spontaneously said “no” but then agreed after I told my story. I haven’t persuaded anyone.

I have had very nice encounters and interesting conversations, learned a little bit about the peopl. Overall a great experience, because even those who refused to be photographed were positive about my project. That makes me want to continue.
Almost everyone agreed that I can publish the first name with his/her picture. I hope I didn’t mess things up. If so, please report and I’ll correct that. I also offer  my models their images in high res.
The portraits are more “conventional”. This is of course my fault and the models’. It wanted to be fast, I didn’t want to direct too much and ask for poses. Maybe I’ll try something more in the next round. Click on a picture for the big view.

Oh yes, tech stuff: I shoot with my Fuji X-Pro2, 90 mm prime. I wanted to seperate the models from the background so I shot fairly wide open. Unfortunately I didn’t hit focus alle the time.
Some more images: