Faces in a Crowd

Image of the Day – Monday, September 21, 2009

Photographing a Stranger in New Orleans

Photographing a Stranger in New Orleans

About a month ago I bought a new lens for my camera – the most basic of lenses at that – a 50mm f/1.8 lens. Don’t worry if you don’t know what all the means just know it’s a hot lens and simply can’t be beat for the going price of about one-hundred thirty bucks. Friday past I got off work at noon and headed straight for the French Quarter to not only give my new lens a real workout but to do something I seldom do – photograph people.

I didn’t want to just photograph people I encountered on the street – I wanted to do some down and dirty “in your face” street photography. I gathered up my Nikon, strapped on the 50mm lens and didn’t take another lens or even a tripod with me. It was going to be an afternoon and evening of me, my camera, the 50mm lens and photographs of total strangers.

I found out quickly it takes some brashness to pull off doing photographs of strangers right in the streets. It’s not an easy task to walk up to someone out of the clear blue and ask to photograph them. The range of reactions ran from thrilled and excited to bordering on hostile. Some people were more than happy to let me photograph them and a few others acted like they wanted to beat my ass on the spot for even approaching them. One fellow I asked to photograph not only obliged me but asked if he could take my picture! Naturally I agreed to his offer but I had to loan him my camera. You never know what you’ll get from a person whose job is to stand in front of a bar and hold a sign that simply reads, “Huge Ass Beers To Go”.

As the day turned to evening and the evening turned to night I found it easier and easier to approach people. But then I was in the French Quarter – mostly on Bourbon Street – and as the evening wore on and the people on the street became less and less sober their inhibitions began to be worn down and I got more and more positive responses to my inquiry to photograph them.

I also stopped in a few bars to listen to the music and shoot a few band shots but stayed true to my mission of face photographs and that’s where the shot below comes from. I like it too much to exclude it from this post.

Unknown Band Member at the Krazy Korner on Bourbon Street

Unknown Band Member at the Krazy Korner on Bourbon Street

For good measure I’d also like to include in today’s post the photograph the man took of me holding his “Huge Ass Beers To Go” sign as well. You can barely see it on the right edge of the photo but I have in hand one huge ass beer – to go.

Huge Ass Beers To Go

Huge Ass Beers To Go

You can see the faces I liked most and posted to my Flickr Stream here.

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~ by rfoxx on September 21, 2009.

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