I recently decided that I should broaden my photographic palette to include pictures of strangers. I say "pictures of strangers" because -- like anyone else with access to a camera -- I take a lot of photos of friends and family, but these have never been intended to be used as part of my public photographic oeuvre, if I may put it that way; they're strictly for the album. I probably have a pretty good album by most standards, it's true, but it's for private consumption only. I might occasionally slip one or two such images into this blog, but there is not a single "album" photo among the 84 images I shipped out to Innsbruck for my upcoming exhibition.*
Photographing strangers is easier said than done. It's one thing to pursue your own children or partner with a camera, for example, but quite another, these days, to even give the appearance of pursuing other people's children and partners. Forget about it. It's deeply unpopular and -- unless you're after a gallery of the limited but lively gestural repertoire that says, unambiguously, "Go away!" -- there seems little point in it. I decided the easy way in for a beginner in the "street" trade was to look for people who either wanted to be photographed, looked like they might be pleased to be photographed, or were so busy doing something else (including being photographed by someone else) that it wouldn't occur to them to object.
I think it helps that the silver X-E1 is so friendly and unthreatening in appearance -- it looks just like an old film camera. It also helps that, if I set my mind to it, I can look pretty friendly, too. Who would object to being snapped by some smiling, grey-bearded old dude with some ancient relic of a camera? Certainly not other grey-haired old dudes...
Nothing terribly exciting there yet, of course; I'm just feeling my way as a beginner in the art of stealing strangers' souls.... And, obviously, you know where my heart really is:
* More about this very soon!