Today I set off to my usual haunt, a route which frequently takes me through the Grainger Market, which is where I first spotted Lex but as ever I found myself clinging on to those weak excuses. First he was being served at a market stall so it would be rude to interrupt, and then when I saw him again he was on the phone so it would be rude to interrupt (both valid points but hardly insurmountable). So, the opportunity passes and I continue on my way.
My next stranger attempt didn’t work out at all – I was sitting on the step of Grey’s Monument with my 70-300m on my camera waiting for an interesting candid to present itself when I suddenly noticed that the girl beside me had a tiny kitten poking its head out of her jacket … there you go, one of those "you don’t often see that" moments! However when I moved across to talk to her the cat started to look nervous, tried to escape out of her jacket then burrowed down into it instead. Hmm, time to cut my losses and say Goodbye. I’m pretty sure I was about to get my first rejection anyway.
Not wanting to continue sitting where I was I moved off to another area to watch the world go by and shortly after, I noticed Lex’s friend come out of Starbucks and sit at one of the street-side tables. Sure enough, seconds later out comes Lex as well.
This time I only took a few seconds to mull things over then went across to speak to them. Yet again I am received pleasantly with no hint of suspicion or irritation and before I know it I’m sitting beside them taking a couple of shots.
Lex works as a promoter for a couple of nightclubs (so here I am finding excuses not to approach people only to find out he does this for a living) including Tiger Tiger which I often walk past at lunchtime so I’ll keep my eyes peeled in case I get a chance to follow up and discover if he looked at the portrait – he seemed interested so I hope he will. He and his mate work together and I was actually interrupting them discussing work so I didn’t stay long but given the nature of the imposition (gate-crashing their coffee break) this was never going to be a long meeting anyway.
This shot was a bit of a departure for me for a couple of reasons – firstly, this is the first time I have approached more than one person but asked to take a shot of only one of them and secondly this is by far the most close up shot that I have taken but the fact we were sat beside each other at a small table kind of forced that anyway so there were no real personal space issues.
My nerves during encounters are now almost completely gone so I just need to keep telling myself that and stop procrastinating so much when I spot someone interesting.
Today’s technical error was to forget to check my aperture setting before approaching my ‘stranger’ – given how close up I was there was a real opportunity to make Lex pop out from the background but at f/6.3 the background is far too distinct for my liking. The annoying thing is I’d been keeping an eye on this throughout my lunch break but then forgot about it at the crucial moment.
Thanks for taking part Lex, hope you like the image and as I said, if you have any problems getting hold of the original image then drop me an email!
PS: Lex follows my #6 Alex – anyone up for a 100 Linked Strangers group ;)? Tomorrow I shall go in search of someone that drives a Lexus!
This picture is #7 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page