‘Negotiation’ Task: Photographing A Stranger

Here are the first Image I have produced for the first 2012 Picbod task “Negotiation”. This task saw me encountering a real life stranger! The aim of this task was to photograph a stranger in their own environment, at some stage entering their personal space and extracting a personal story from them.

Although I would have preferred to photograph someone in their own environment such as their home, I could not organize to do so with any strangers. I decided to venture out into a very icy and cold market place, hoping to find a friendly bench dweller who’d happily chat to me as I snapped away.

This didn’t happen.

Actually, I arrived and the benches were iced over, and the market was scarcely populated. My salvation was an elderly market tender sitting under his canopy. It took me three introductions until heard me correctly, but he agreed to have his photo taken anyway.

I started by photographing him from afar, as he was serving a customer, then I invaded his space a little more once he had sat back on his bench. I tried to get him talking to me, but it was quite a difficult task, there were some leads I could’ve followed, but at that stage my mind just froze up and I couldn’t think of anything to say! I had just paused shooting to look at the images I had so far, and to show them to him (to get him more involved) when he said “I’ll eat my lunch now you’ve finished, if that’s all right.” I thanked him for his time and that was the end of my encounter with a stranger.

I don’t feel as though I did as I was instructed to do when carrying out this task, although I did try. This task has taught me that people are much more comfortable in their own space, and I would like to re-do this task with a friend of a friend, which hopefully I can arrange to do soon. I think the big mistake I made when photographing my stranger was not explaining myself well enough, so he didn’t understand what I wanted to achieve out of it. What I do like is that the images capture our relationship perfectly, the awkwardness is written all over his face. Having said this, the images are not up to standard at all, and I blame this on my haste in taking photos. I chose to make my digital images monotone because I found the images to be too busy in colour.

From this exercise, I learnt how to approach (actual) strangers when asking to take a photograph of them, and in fact, the worst they can do is say ‘No’.

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2 Responses to ‘Negotiation’ Task: Photographing A Stranger

  1. jonathanworth says:

    Less chat and more action Kuchta. Do a set of people – ten to twenty in one intense burst of activity over a day and lets see how your approach and images evolve.

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