Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Stranger No More



As many of you know, I have embarked on an unofficial "100 Strangers Challenge".  The object is to help photographers feel more at ease at approaching strangers and asking to take their photo.  It's daunting I can tell you.  The hardest part of the  challenge is that you must have some type of interaction with the subject.  You MAY NOT sit in your car and snap photos from afar!  Hence the challenge.  I have shared a few with you along the way, but today I want to highlight one that is very special.  Meet my friend Herman.  He is a character for sure, but he is also a proud man that I consider myself lucky to have met.  Somewhere on that hat is an Olympic pin that I shared with him.  He accepted it as a token of our friendship.  He returned the favor by saying, " You  can take my picture, now."  The bottom photo is one of a series of photographs of hands that I hope to share as a series in the future.  Herman.... thank you for allowing me to make your portrait.  You are a stranger no more.

The Tune du Jour is " You've Got A Friend" by James Taylor

PARIS  COUNTDOWN.... 17 DAYS!


Discover James Taylor!

38 comments:

Wayne said...

V. You may be taking the 'stranger' part of the 100 Stranger Challenge too literally.

Herman must be a nice guy but you get lots of points for not being intimidated.

Olivier said...

le nouveau pirate des caraïbes ;o) beau portrait assez surprenant

the new Pirate of the Caribbean o) beautiful portrait surprising

Webradio said...

Hello Virginia !
Good challenge...
Nice photo, with a cute man !

The hands are beautiful !

rob said...

Hello Herman, I like your portraiture. Most of all I like that you raise your arms like a... Christ on a cross.
I'll leave my wallet at home today and pin everything on my hat!

Judy - So California said...

Virginia - You captured the "character" of Herman beautifully! Great shot of his hands to go along. Tres magnifique!

Bibi said...

Virgina, this is an intimidating challenge for sure! I sometimes sneak shots from the belly or hip, but occasionally ask for a photo. More often than not people agree, but I do have some trouble with the wonderful peasant faces on Belgrade's open markets, since I think they believe I'm somehow going to misuse their photos...oh, if they could only see what people would say about their fascinating faces!

Herman is great. Say hi from Belgrade.

Rambling Round said...

And where did you find Herman to capture such a brilliant photo for your "100 Strangers" project?

Eeyore said...

Herman is indeed a blessing to know, although a conversation with him does not always go where you thought it would. He was the first of the street people I met at 5 Points South in my first photography class, and he and his friends from the area became the theme of my series for that class. Two of the photos on my blog are from that series, Chuck and Willie, but by far the best photo to me is the one of Herman. I'll have to post it after my fair photos. I originally was going to call the series Herman and Friends until my wife hit upon Somebody's Uncle. That was an uncomfortable few minutes when I first approached them and asked to take their picture, but once I got past my trepidation, almost all of them were more than willing to be photographed.

Lori Skoog said...

Virginia... Love this photo and a great idea to photograph people you don't know. I did a series on people wearing hats, and not one refused me. The hands are also something that I would like to do. You are a great influence.
Lori

Virginia said...

Eeyore, Oh I know about convesation attempts. I would love to see your portraits as well. Somebody's Uncle is a fitting title I think. So many just want somebody to listen and don't you think there has to be the element of respect as well?

Wayne, I spent a lot of time talking to some of my strangers before i ever asked them.

Abraham Lincoln said...

This is a good series, Virginia. And the hands another if the sampel is any indication of what to expect.

I am doing something very similar on my Gordon, Ohio blog. I set out to photograph and describe every house in the village where I was born.

Gordon, Ohio

Halcyon said...

Herman looks like a real character. Where did you meet him?

The Life and Times of a Southern Foody said...

well, well

finally a good reason to get caught staring!

I'll keep an eye out!

Therese said...

Quite an interesting challenge!That's why I take people from behind most of the time. A little bit of cowardise... What is Herman doing in life, do you know?

Tanya said...

Wow, I love this guy! He is a very interesting looking character. Good for you to get outside your comfort zone and ask to photograph strangers. That's hard to do!

King of New York Hacks said...

ok....i'm in....but do I photo a stranger,or the "strangest" person is what I need to know.

Virginia said...

King, email me and I'll give you the jist of it. There's an "official" challenge on Flickr but it was too much for me to deal with. D.C. Confidential and I just decided to do it and cheer each other on. Maybe I'll put my 53 strangers on my photography website in a gallery. Some are just "snapshots", others I am happier with. After 53, I am getting more comfortable with asking but still try and rush the shot instead of taking more time to set it all up. Strangetastes at St. Louis DP is much much better at it than I am. He has done some marvelous ones.

Interestingly enough, Eeyore up there and I have both photographed Herman. Small world isn't it!

PJ said...

Godd morning, Virginia! Photographing strangers is difficult indeed. I just came home from photographing a stranger. I am not a morning person at all but got up early, for me, and was at a friend's house before sunrise to document the morning feeding of their blue heron. They live on the bay and "Big Bird" walks up the steps to their back deck to be fed pin fish. Everyday. It was an interesting experience to say the least. My memory card is loading the pics as I write. I'm looking forward to your 100 strangers and your hand studies. I've actually considered doing a meme for hands.

Kelly said...

First, let me say that Wayne's comment had me laughing so hard I started crying!

Herman is something to behold! Love the hat! I am intrigued by this 100 strangers challenge. If you aren't too busy getting ready to leave for Paris (I alreaady told you I was envious...) : )
Will you drop me a line and tell me more about how you are doing on this?

Laurie said...

This is a perfect portrait, V. Your subjects always reveal their true selves to your camera -- you always get people to open up. It's marvelous. MOre! More! More!

Kathleen said...

I like the feather thing in his hair!!

Virginia said...

Oh Kelly. Don't get Wayne going! Sometimes I have to call him "W" to get him off his high horse!HA

PJ , only you could find a trained heron! Oh my!HA

Knoxville Girl said...

Herman adds a lot of local color to B'ham, I'd guess. I love the "hands" shot.

marley said...

You've certainly risen to the challenge. I love the hands photo.

Happy birthday too, sorry I missed it. Hope you had a good one :)

USelaine said...

I love pictures of hands, and suggested it for a theme day poll a while back, but it didn't get the votes. I look forward to more of yours.

babooshka said...

Don't get me started on photographing people! Herman is one cool dude. He just oozes charisma. Hands as as series I like, and would happily attend an exhibition. I have been invited to speak at a media event on the island. Means I have to break cover. Could be a clever ruse of course.

Virginia said...

Oh B,, Go forth and conquer. Wish I could be in the audience, but maybe it's all for the best! We need photos and to hear all about it. Hope they recognize your fabulous talents.My best wishes for this new opportunity!
V

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Interesting concept. It makes me wonder how I would pose for such a portrait. I've never had a caricature done for that reason.

Virginia said...

oh Robert, you'd be hugging a tree if I were doing your caricature! Perfect I would think. i do so love to read your comments. Love to read them!
V

Julie said...

I do like this idea, Virginia. It is, indeed, daunting to ask a stranger to take their photograph. However, your challenge gives a framework to overcoming the fear.

My only problem with asking is that then the photo becomes posed and the subject more conscious of their role.

minerva mouse said...

who said there are no strangers, just friends I have yet to meet!

I love taking snaps of friends I have yet to meet....

great hand photo - blogging buds of mousemedicine had a theme thursday of hands a few weeks ago....it was great fun...they make most excellent subjects!

Kuanyin Moi said...

Love this concept! It inspires me! And two beautiful photos which came from it! Happy Halloween!

GrandAnglais said...

I would love to have the courage to snap strangers like this, I think you are very brave! It says a lot for you that people have a sense of trust to let you take their photo. I get eyed very suspiciously whenever I am taking photos so I'd be very reluctant to ask anyone.

Rambling Round said...

Virginia, A wonderful, courageous idea! I like this stranger photo, and I was so impressed that I tried out your idea for my Halloween blog post, and I must say it was a very scary challenge!

Ming the Merciless said...

I love your 100 Stranger Challenger series. Love the concept and love the photos.

D.C. Confidential said...

Wow! What a cool picture of Herman. I especially like the second photo with the hands. I can't wait to see your series on this!

Kris said...

I thought that it was Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry for a second there. A brave concept, and I have very much enjoyed Steffe’s from Haninge. I’d never have the nerve!

I shall be following with great interest.

Dystopos said...

Herman Maurice has his own article.