100 Strangers Project (Part 1)

A little while before I left for Ireland, I discovered the 100 strangers group on Flickr.

From the group description:

The challenge: Take at least 100 photographs of 100 people you don't know. Approach anyone or a group of people, ask for permission to both take a photo of them and to post it to this group. Get to know your stranger/s. Who are they? What is their life like? Step out of your comfort zone and into a new level of portrait photography.

I was intrigued. And when I say intrigued, I mean terrified.

Listen, I have problems taking photos of people on the street when they don't know I'm taking their picture. I love to people-watch and once I get over my initial shyness I love to talk to people. And I also really love taking people's portraits:

2009 09 11_0307
Virginia: Not a stranger. 

Noelle: Also not a stranger.

Jesse: Not just not a stranger but also my cousin.

Audrey: Not only not a stranger but also married to my cousin.

But to strike up a conversation with a stranger AND ask to take his or her picture?

That's about a million miles outside of my comfort zone.

Still, I AM going to do it--and I kinda sorta started to do it in Ireland. (More on that in part 2.) In the meantime, I gather inspiration for the project, as usual, from the Flickr community.

One of my favorite Flickr friends, Kevin Day, has been doing the project with lovely results, of which these are just a few of my faves (please, please click to see the full size photos and the stories of each encounter and thanks, once again, to those Flickrites who enable sharing on their photos).

Dieter (#1)
#1 By Kevin Day
Alexander (#35/100)
#35 By Kevin Day
Meliton (#37/100)
#37 By Kevin Day
Kato (#41/100)
#41 By Kevin Day
I am in awe and in envy.

And here are some others I really like:

#16 By Doodlecats by Beth Wilson

Pop for a Day, Stranger #001 of 100
#1 By leesure (I love, love, love this photo--and yet the story behind it is even better.)

Stranger # 1
#1 By buiu

Amanda (#202)
#202 By Al Fed

Stranger #97
#97 By danny st.

Further reading:
Tips and suggestions for asking strangers to take their photos without your head exploding.
Advice for "extremely awkward and nervous" people.
How to shoot street portraits by Danny Santos II (danny st.) plus a description of his methods and freaking incredible examples of his street portraits.

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