Approaching strangers

I love documentary photography and I love portraits, and especially the combination of both….. one thing that always kept me from exploring this area is my “hesitation” (read: “horror”) to approach strangers and take their picture. One of my favorite photographers in this area is Greg Miller and a few months ago I saw one of his workshops announced at ICP on exactly the aforementioned subject: “Approaching Strangers” … after checking some minor details on agenda, how to get to New York etc, Stephanie and I boarded our plane to JFK last week to spend a week sightseeing – and me attending the 2-day workshop. It was probably my most psychologically stressful weekend for a long time – but with the help of Greg and my fellow students (we were sharing the same anxiety), each of us got over it and approached strangers on the street, took their portraits etc. and in the end it was an awesome, almost liberating experience… I am very happy and proud to have been there …it opens up new possibilities… especially when travelling I find it often much more interesting to document people and not just sights or landscapes – so here is already a start in showing some people I found in New York …. here the pictures I took during those two days… and some more with Stephanie around New York.

 

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10 Comments

  1. 30. October 2014 / 20:51

    Outstanding. I think we all have this anxiety with Street Photography. Congrats on working to overcome yours. The images are excellent, as always. I especially LOVE the one of the gentleman with the dress coat, gym shorts, and coffee next to what seems to be a fashion advertisement. Well done!

  2. 30. October 2014 / 21:13

    Amazing photos. It must have been a great experience, out of your comfort zone.

    What was the most important tip that you learn in the workshop, how to approach strangers.

    Did you asked then right away, or did you have to start a conversation previously, and then ask to photograph?

    Did you have to deal with people say no?

    • 31. October 2014 / 15:50

      Thanks Luis, I am afraid there is no easy answer. I guess you really have to want to do it – accept the fear to get the picture. There were “no”s as well, but not very many – most people said yes. I just asked right away for a picture – telling them something like: I am a photographer and love to take portraits of interesting people on the street… combined with a friendly tone and a smile, that worked quite nicely.

  3. 30. October 2014 / 21:13

    Love how you combined your set up street view and the strangers! Big up on overcoming your ‘hesitation’! I have to do something like that, too. Inspiring!

  4. 31. October 2014 / 15:47

    Jan, it was a pleasure to have you in the class along with all of your classmates. You were brave just to take the class but you also made beautiful photographs to show for it. I look forward to more great work!

  5. Marlon
    5. November 2014 / 23:00

    Some really great shots, I wish I could have made it to this class. Your image quality is of course outstanding

  6. Federico
    17. November 2014 / 16:58

    Great shots. What camera? Thanx 🙂

  7. 23. November 2014 / 19:04

    Jan- I recently discovered your work while watching an episode by the framednetwork.com, youtube channel: frame show – film episode 11. I fell in love with how you used the 4×5. I started shooting photography in digital about 5 years about but recently have progressed to shooting film. Currently, I’m shooting 35 and 120 but would like to get into 4×5.

    I love how how you explain on your facebook page what camera you used, lens, film, developer, etc. I would love to know: the film you used for these photos (eg. fuji, kodak, ilford), type (are all 4×5 or are some 35 or 120, what was your process for developing the film? Did you travel with the film, if so, did you have any fears having your film pass through the x-ray? I love the color of image 20. What film was that? Do you scan your negatives and do post-processing with photoshop or other software?

    Really good stuff and I’m looking forward to more.

  8. Diego
    11. November 2015 / 11:42

    Do you know that the man with the old camera is a famous photographer? He is Louis Mendes!!!!

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