Having previously photographed two professional photographers I today bagged a 2nd year BA(Hons) Photography student so perhaps some day my project will grow to three pros.
When I first saw John I thought he looked quite interesting but although I was aware of the camera draped around his neck it wasn’t really anything to do with my decision to approach him other than as an indication that he might have a few minutes to spare. As I approached though I realised that it was a film camera (Nikon FM2 I think) so our conversation immediately turned to photography.
I explained about the project as normal and handed him my card and it turned out that he was doing something not dissimilar to me and was out today photographing strangers – he however had already photographed 12 and with a theme as well … he was photographing smokers for a project looking for stereotypes. (John is also giving up smoking and hasn’t had a smoke for 2 weeks!)
In terms of particular interests within photography John is really getting into street photography and would like to someday get himself a medium format camera although it is prohibitively expensive at the moment. In honour of medium format though I have cropped his two photographs to 6×6 and 6×4.5 – hopefully that will do him for the moment ;).
John talked about his course a bit and it was interesting to learn that it does not teach people how to use a camera or even take a photo (other than 1 workshop) but rather is more about why you are taking shots and the whole philosophy behind the art. I spoke to John for a fair while and it was interesting hearing about the other non-hobby side of photography and John encouraged me to research some of the masters and perhaps even develop a style of my own.
John said that he doesn’t like being in front of the camera but he agreed to the photograph before hearing what the project was all about – but that said the only time he really smiled was when he thought he had blinked in the previous shot (which he hadn’t) … this is where digital comes into its own – without building up a real rapport with the stranger digital allows several shots with a much higher chance of getting one with a nice relaxed pose and on this occasion it allowed me to capture that very brief smile. That’s probably anathema to John and his fellow students but it’s worked OK for me so far ;).
Thanks for your time today John – I wish you well with your studies and I hope you get that medium format camera sometime soon!
This picture is #46 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