Update # 1 Portraits of 100 Strangers Project

I have been working on the 100 strangers project for a few weeks now. It has met and exceeded my expectations in many ways.

It took several months thinking about the 100 strangers project to get started. I guess the biggest roadblock is anticipating prospective subjects refusal to have their pictures taken to participate in the project.  I know that will inevidably happen but having now encountered ten folks who willingly participated and some very enthusiastically, a refusal will not come as such a blow. My thoughts about this project fall into three categories; taking the photo, technical and other observations and receiving comments which I will summarize briefly below.

Taking the Photo: This is the most critical part of the process and it continually changes to incorporate lessons learned from taking previous photos and comments received from others, or at least it should as this is a learning process. Taking the photo includes everything from choosing the subject, your approach for asking them to participate, getting to know them, selecting an appropriate location and pose and finally taking the photograph. This has been a rewarding exercise because it involves meeting interesting people and from the satisfaction of taking a portrait you are pleased with, or hopefully so.

Technical and Other Observations: After one takes and downloads the photo the project requires the photographer to reflect on the approach and technical settings and anything else which could have made the photo better and summarize these observations when the photo is posted to the 100 strangers group. This is an excellent learning exercise as the photo and the technical data is reviewed in the computer. Or it can be a learning exercise so long as the same lessons learned are applied to the next photograph and not repeated over and over again. This has been rewarding because it causes one to think more about all aspects of the process of taking the photo and you can see where you are making improvements over time.

Receiving Comments: This part of the process is one where I have received the most enjoyment that was not expected.  As soon as I started posting to the 100 strangers group I found there was a whole new group of fellow photographers who were willing to contribute comments and constructive suggestions on the portraits I submitted to the project. What I also found interesting was that they came from all corners of the world (UK, Sweden, Brasil, as well as several parts of the United States). When a comment is received one feels an obligation to check out and comment on the 100 stranger photos of those who commented on your photos which makes the process even more interesting. In fact, I believe it works best if one is proactive by commenting on other photographers 100 stranger photos, or any photos for that matter, to show you are interested enough in their photos to leave a comment.

In all, my start into the 100 strangers project has been interesting, educational and very rewarding and I highly recommend it to any photographer who wants to improve their portrait taking skills, or overall photography skills for that matter.

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