100 stranger project UK

Helen and Rob - 100 Strangers project

image.jpg

So  the 100 strangers project started in 2014 it was about time I met and photographed someone new in 2015. It turned out to be two strangers in Helen and Rob. We met when I quickly nipped out to take Tilly for a short walk, which never happens if I pick up the camera on the way out of the door! It was a dark and misty day on Sunday and the last day before returning to some work after the festive period. There is something about the mist that makes everything ethereal and mysterious that always works great for landscapes shots and I wasn't expecting to come back with anything more than landscapes.

image.jpg

On the way down the lane that leads to the local woods and open fields I noticed a old country LandRover pull up beside the church but I didn't really pay it much attention. I walk along the field boundaries and onto the woods where on the other side I had stopped to try and get some shots of Tilly. As usual trying to photograph a Springer has its own unique problems (she is not a patient Model) and trying to get her to stop running around for more than a second proved difficult.

image.jpg

I had just walked into the open field when Helen and Rob appeared from the woods behind me. So at this point it will become obvious that Rob is not Rob the boyfriend husband etc but Rob the dog.  

Helen had warned me that he was friendly but was a rescue dog who had a tendency to be a bit nervous. She told me that she was not confident enough to let him off his long training lead just yet as he could be a little temperamental with other dogs. He had been rescued from a shelter recently and Helen was working hard to settle him into his new home and do some training with him. It was then it occurred to me that this was an opportunity to get some portraits of them both and I have to say Helen wrapped up against the cold arriving in a classic green LandRover looked like the your archetypal English farmers daughter with sheep dog in tow. She was happy to have her portrait done with Rob and I hope she gets in touch so I can send her the images (once again I had forgot business cards). In terms of things learnt our conversation was brief and I suppose it may often be the case with such a project. I know she lives nearby but that's about it. In hindsight it would have been good to have had a phone or notebook to take some details from her to flesh out the story but hey lesson learnt for next time. It was lovely to meet them both and I suppose that's the one great thing about having a dog is that it's so easy to strike up a conversation with other dog owners. You know you already share one interest and it's surprising when you are talking to people how much you often have in common. So Helen if you are reading this, get in touch and I will send you the high res files. These images have been edited for the blog the way I like them. If you go on the people's page of the web site you will see the more classic digital look which you may prefer. So there it is stranger No 2 of the project and 1 of 2015.

"There are no strangers only friends you haven't met yet" 

Rob the sheep dog

Rob the sheep dog

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

New year new challenge - 100 Strangers

"There are no strangers just people you haven't met yet" 

image.jpg

The 100 stranger project is something I heard about earlier this year and as soon as I realized what it was I felt it wasn't for me. The concept is to photograph 100 people that you don't know and have never met before. The whole idea is to get you to step out of your comfort zone and find the nerve to walk up to someone and ask them for their portrait. Even now I don't know if I can do it. Whether it's a fear of looking silly, fear of rejection or just starting something then not having the conviction to see it through. I know the benefits and I have no doubt I will learn a lot from it. It will improve my photography but there will be much that I will learn outside of photography as well. If I managed to photograph one stranger a month it would take  8 years and three months. Who will I be at the end of this, how will it change me and my photography, will the people I meet and photograph change me, what will I learn from them, where will I meet them under what circumstances. What I do know is the thought of it excites me and its a challenge that at the moment I feel very uncomfortable about. So like everything in my life when something scares me, I have to do it.  So here we go and as a way of entering it to this gradually here is stranger No 1, Randolph Allan Dobier (the third).

Rudy is from Texas well San Antonio to be precise. As we boarded our flight to Hamburg for new year Rudy happened to be sat in our row. To be fair Carmen starting talking to him first as I put our bags into a overhead locker. I joined the conversation having worked out this Rudy had left the states in his early 20s to work for Abercrombie and Fitch in London. He opened a number of new stores before moving to Hamburg in Germany to open more Hollister stores. He also fell In love with Hamburg and the German ladies (reading between the lines) while working and partying hard. Rudy realized that he loved to travel and in a few short years had travelled to nearly every country in Europe barring Turkey and France.  Having to spend a lot of his time recruiting models to work in the stores and mainly being surrounded by beautiful women the stress of the job had taken its toll ( it must have been awful) and it was time to move on. He left Europe for the states and a job in a IT company in Austin. The lure of Europe is still strong however and he had just flown from Austin to Hamburg (via Heathrow) to spend a week over New Year in Hamburg. Everyone you meet has something to teach you and for me Rudy had a few valuable takeaways to pass on.

First even though Rudy worked in Gravesend he decided that he didn't  want to live someone convenient for work but wanted to live somewhere convenient for living and enjoying the city. So he lived in Camden and commuted a hour every day. Takeaway No 1 live somewhere you enjoy living and take the pain of a commute. I'm sure 2 years in Gravesend would be nothing to write home about, while 2 years in Camden for someone from Texas, say no more!

I also learnt that Texas is worth a visit. Austin is a fantastic city full of life and culture with a number of big music festivals every year. The city is scattered with cool bars and cafes, a variety of foods and an eclectic music scene. During one of the festival in March they have live music in the bars all over the city. He also talked about opening a beach club in Austin. Essentially in Hamburg during the summer they import tons of sand and create beach clubs along the harbour. The name for Texas's first ever roof top beach bar. Well I proposed Club Dobier but Rudy had the name down already "Rad 3" 

As we stepped off the plane at Hamburg I quickly explained my New Years project 100 strangers and our new friend Rudy was happy to oblige. So finally the first lesson of one hundred strangers: there is no strangers just friends you haven't met yet ;-)

image.jpg
image.jpg