Meet Ah’freee – 3 e’s – very important ;).
What a wonderful character! I was heading back to work but having started work pretty early this morning I was happy to run over my hour and with 2 strangers already under my belt I wandered around close to work looking for another, and that was when the most colourful character walked past … happy smile, bold headscarf, bright earrings and a seemingly carefree mood … perfect!
When I asked Ah’freee she had little hesitation and I had the feeling this was going to be a good one to finish off a great day (hold that thought).
As I was digging out my camera I learned that Ah’freee is a love poet – also know as Radikal Queen – and can be found on the Apples and Snakes website showcasing performance poetry and spoken word.
Once I had my camera in hand I asked Ah’freee to face the sun, my intention being to try in that direction and then with her back to the sun but she wasn’t happy with that and clearly the sun was making her squint a lot so I picked a nearby plainish background instead and took a few side-lit shots – she was very obliging to a little bit of direction but I was struggling to get an even light on her face – nonetheless we got to the point that I started to review the shots and Ah’freee was immediately interested asking to see as well so I shoved my camera into the darkest shadow I could find (not very) so that she could look at the LCD but she didn’t like any of them so I suggested we cross the road (to the shade) and try again. Clearly intent on getting a shot she was happy with and apparently enjoying our meeting Ah’freee was more than happy to do this.
On the other side of the road we had another "photo shoot" and review session and still she wasn’t happy 😉 – I must admit I was greatly enjoying this as Ah’freee was so animated, pulling faces, smiling, cocking her head this way and that and laughing most of the time – which was both a challenge and a delight and given that when she asked what she should do I simply replied "be yourself" I was very much getting what I asked for. By now we were well past my record number of shots for any stranger and still we were reviewing/selecting and I think we did 4 "sessions" in all with a final short-list that comprised the one shot that I insisted on including, plus a few that Ah’freee liked and I promised to include one way or another (but not necessarily as the main shot).
This I think is the only time I would say that I have collaborated with a stranger and I must say that I really enjoyed it – I always like it when they get in touch but to be so engaged at the time as well is fantastic.
We chatted a little about the project as well and the way that many people find it difficult (although I hadn’t mentioned my sub-plot so we were just talking generally) and Ah’freee was very encouraging putting across the point so often made on here – don’t take rejection personally, just be yourself and everything will be fine.
Finally, I couldn’t resist my "What’s the maddest thing you’ve ever done?" question …
… one time when on the phone to her Mum, Ah’freee got something in her eye so she took her contact lens out to lick it and give it a clean – at this point her Mum made her laugh so much that she swallowed her contact lens!!!
So? Did Ah’freee finish off a great day … nope … but she was a fantastic middle in a great day ;).
Ah’freee thank you very much for helping me with my project – I think I’ve said it all above … it was fantastic fun photographing you and I hope you like the selection that I have chosen as well as the main image, even though I know that won’t be your favourite ;).
Ah’freee is the third stranger I photographed today having set myself the personal challenge of photographing 5 young women in a row – a "group" that I must admit to generally shying away from. Others may think nothing of this but I found it difficult for reasons explained in the introduction to Daisy.
Please feel free to provide constructive critique on the technical aspects of this photograph.
This picture is #84 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