You should precipitate a live encounter with a stranger and make a series of images with that subject. During this process you should both depict the subject in the environment and at some point venture into the subjectʼs personal space, you should do this and come away with at least one personal story from them.
Do the exercise once without showing the subject the images, then share the work with them and make another set. Consider how this effects the power-relationship.
Use common sense when approaching members of the public. Provoking a ﬁght, abusing subjects and/or getting arrested is not considered ʻGood or effective Photographic Practiceʼ in this context.
This specific task can be very easy and very hard the same time. Although I am very curious what I can get from a situation such as this I didn’t pursuit my ideas. Last week my housemate, Alexis, was home with his girlfriend, which I met for the first time. The moment we met she was making pancakes, and offered me. What could go better than this, especially when you don’t have food in the fridge.. It happens that the same day I had planned to run a tutorial with Daniel, the other housemate, so he can make photographs for the Empowered Portrait task (I ‘ll be posting soon this). I told her that I would be taking portraits of her. I can’t say she didn’t like the idea, but she didn’t really look to love it. I then explained her the reason for these portraits.
She told me that she likes photography and it’s her hobby. I asked very typical questions to make conversation. She sat on the table and chatted with Daniel who was enjoying a pancake. I picked-up the RB67, looked through the viewfinder. This camera is a challenge to shoot handheld. I was expecting she would be out of her comfort zone, as it was the first time she came to our place. Instead, I was out of my comfort zone. It took me about 10 minutes to find a proper way to hold the camera. Let’s not not forget that the image on the focusing screen is displayed in reverse, right is left, left is right… poor composition. I hadn’t used the RB67 since October, which made me look ridiculous. Most of the shots the mirror crank didn’t work, or the sync cable wasn’t responding. I know that in these situations it’s better to know your equipment, so you don’t miss your chances, but I might have looked less intimidating to her with my amateurish manners. I couldn’t possibly have all the control I wanted. I remember as I looked through the lens, she was calm. I relaxed as well.
Daniel was meant to be the best assistant without any prior arrangements. We had been out the previous night and as for most, it wasn’t for just a pint, as you always state before leaving the house. Imagine, the joy waking up feeling dizzy, dehydrated and hungry, only to find a stranger in your kitchen with pancakes, chocolate spread and fruits. To continue, Daniel was chatting with her, which made my job easier. There were some very short moments, where she forgot I was taking photographs. I went through the film very fast. Next day I developed and scanned it. I showed her the photographs and asked her which ones she likes. Her edit was pretty much the same with mine.
Her name is Alicja, 27 years old. She’s a chef in a place in Warwick. She came from Poland in order to get a job. As I understand her dream is to be a chef, maybe at more prestigious restaurants, but there is always that place you start from.