Some six months later…

A while ago (probably six month ago) I decided to start a personal project: photographing strangers on the streets. It sounds pretty simple, right?

The glass is beautiful.


It should be, considering I photograph around 500 people every year. A few of them I met before, but the majority of them are strangers until the shoot. There’s a big difference, though: they are there to be photographed by me.

Approaching strangers and ask them to take their photo is something that scares me a lot. It takes my anxiety to the highest of levels. Just the thought of leaving the studio to go and do it, makes me very anxious.

Funny, though, as I was chatting to Benny on Instagram after I finished the first day and he had no idea I had anxiety. When I pointed a few things out from when he sees me at photowalks, he got it. “You don’t come off at all anxious though, it comes off very confident”, he said.

Well, I am very anxious.

Before I tell you about my first two days shooting strangers, I should probably explain a few things about the project.

First of all, I’m shooting on B&W film, because, you know, it’s me. I chose XP2 because it’s cheaper to develop C41 than it is to develop B&W. So a few months ago I ordered 6 rolls for this project.

The camera is a Nikomat EL with a 50mm f/1.4 and a 35mm f/2.8 and the idea is to take two photos per person: one closeup with the 50mm and one a bit wider with the 35mm. Also, at the same time I ordered the film, I got a voice recorded. So I take two photos, then I take one with my phone to get their names and a contact number or email, and then record them saying something about themselves. Later, I transcribe it.

In theory I should photograph 108 people, 18 per roll. But I am now considering only doing 5 rolls and keeping the last one in case any of the photos are bad, so I can contact the person and take another photo. It sounds a bit like cheating, but we’ll see.

And the idea was to go out and not come back until I finished a roll (18 people), but as you will read next, that didn’t exactly happen.

Saturday – Day 1

Apologies for the bad lighting and iPhone photo. @ The Burrow

I knew Annaliese was teaching a class at the agency until 12pm so after not getting out of bed until 11am, I thought I could go there to give her a hug and then go to the City to start the project. Thankfully, Anna was free for a few hours so we went to West End instead. Having her with me helped A LOT. So in under 3 hours I manage to photograph 7 incredible humans. I’m not going to write about them but I’ll put up photos of my notes at the end. Also, this is the only time you’ll see the photos I took of them with my phone (so I can remember everyone).

Sunday – Day 2

My black notebook is pink inside, with beige pages. @ The Burrow

Second day, I went back to West End, this time by myself. I got a takeaway coffee from The Burrow and went for a walk. It wasn’t a bad start when I walked in a record shop and took photos of the girl working there. After that, it was a bit of a struggle. I asked a really cool dude and he said no. My first “no”. But then I asked a cool girl and she said yes, and I went back to The Burrow. I sat there for a while and nothing. Had a glass of wine and got another photo. After that I kinda gave up as I was meeting Demi at BREW, so off to the City I went.

Luckily, there, I managed to photographer THREE more people, even though it was dark already.

What’s next?

My office away from the studio. @ BREW

I realised that 18 people a day might not be a good idea. I wanted to pick a day of the week, like Tuesdays, and go out and come back with a finished roll. Instead, I might just carry the camera with me every time I go out and see how that goes.

One of the humans I photographed, Aaron, owns a cool cafe in West End and it might be the place to exhibit these photos once I’m done, maybe. We’ll see.

Handwritten notes

@ The Burrow

On my Instagram stories I said I would explain why my handwriting is so bad and why I don’t usually write by hand.

Long story short, my hand hurts after writing a paragraph so I never really liked writing. I’ve been using computers since I was 12 years old, so that made my life easier.

But this is a project about getting our of my comfort zone, so I want to document it like that.

I’ll leave the pages I wrote about these two first days here. The transcripts so far are done but they’re for later. And I don’t know when the next part of this blog post will happen, I don’t plan on writing about it every week, but this is here so to hold myself accountable. I might succeed or I might fail. I will report back regardless of the outcome.

Much love!

Film ordered from Decisive Moment; develop and scan will be done by Racquet Film.