100 Strangers Project (Part 2)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am both intrigued by and terrified of the 100 Strangers Project, in which you not only walk up to perfect stranger and ask to take their photos but also engage them in conversation and tell their story.

I joined the 100 Strangers Group on Flickr and planned to start the project in Ireland, but was too scared to do it on the first half of the trip, even though I met so many lovely people and had such great conversations with them. I just couldn't bring myself to take that additional step of asking to take their photo.

As the days went by I became increasingly aware of all the opportunities I was missing.

And screwed up my courage enough to ask three people if I could take their picture.

It was only when I got home that I realized that I was so nervous that I not only forgot to record their stories but also in some cases didn't even get their names. And forgot to focus. Other than that, awesome.

So I won't be counting any of these as part of the 100 Strangers Project. But for the sake of learning from my mistakes, I figured I'd share them anyway.

Stranger #0: John O'Neill
Stranger #0 John O'Neill
This is John O'Neill, our guide on a day tour of Connemara. A funny, extremely flirty fellow who happens to be in love with Noreen, the equally funny and wonderful woman who owns the B&B where we stayed in Killarney. (I didn't take her photo either.)

He claims to have been married briefly, but I cannot imagine him as anything but a dedicated bachelor. Aside from the usual tour guide info, he talked a lot about the economy in Ireland and pointed out to us an entire development of beautiful houses that stand empty because the builder ran out of money.

He believes that putting your hat on the table is bad luck and, as a result, leaves many hats behind in restaurants, pubs and cafes. Luckily, he has lots of hats.

I could almost count this as my first "stranger" photo, except that by this point he was hardly a stranger. I had, in fact, kissed him several times (on the cheek). It was part of his bit: The last person on the bus at each stop had to kiss him. Unless the last person was a dude, in which case he'd steal a kiss from the nearest female.

Stranger #0 George Ralph
Stranger #0 George Ralph

Like my photo of John O'Neill, this almost counts as a 100 Strangers Project photo, but falls short in one critical area. When I got home and looked at the photo, I realized that I remember absolutely nothing about him aside from the fact that he owns a fabulous antique store in Kilkenny. I didn't even remember his name. 

The point of the 100 strangers project is that you not only have to ask a stranger if you can take his or her photograph, but you also have to engage them, learn something about them, and include that information with your photo. It's not that I didn't talk to him--we chatted for at least 10 or 15 minutes. It's just that I was so nervous about asking to take his photo and then taking his photo that every detail of the encounter left my little brain the moment I walked out of his store.

Now, if I was going to cheat, I could pretend that I remembered that his name is George Ralph and he owns D&R Antiques on Rose Inn Street in Kilkenny, Ireland. But I'm an honest kind of gal, so I'll admit to you that I had to Google that.

Further evidence of how nervous I was--there is nothing in focus in this picture! Adding to the technical difficulties--he kept chatting while I was snapping and so in all the other photos his mouth is open. I swear to God, this "strangers" thing is even harder than I imagined.

Stranger #0: Klaus Hartmann
Stranger #0 Klaus Hartmann

Yet another potential photo for the 100 Strangers Project that falls short in that I probably didn't talk to him long enough and also I bribed him to let me take his photo by buying about 50 Euros' worth of his gorgeous pottery.

And, again, I was so nervous I forgot to effing focus. Oh, and of course although I thought I got his name now I can't find it. So that's strike three.

Once again, I had to Google: His name is Klaus Hartmann. I met Klaus at his booth in a small market outside of Kilkenny Castle. He is a potter who lives about 10 miles outside of Kilkenny with his wife, who makes the baskets you see in the background of the photo.

Have I mentioned that this "strangers" thing is really hard?

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