Can You Trust a Stranger?

I was shooting some street photos when a guy stopped in front of my camera smiling and making a sign for me to click. I had two options: click or ask him to leave.

In a split second it crossed my mind to be fearful of this intrusion, for not knowing of his intentions, or to play along and believe him. 

I went for the latter. I smiled and started clicking while keeping the conversation going. He said that he actually hates to be photographed and was just making a joke. He didn’t think I would take him seriously.

After a few shots, he wanted to see the photos. He expressed surprise with how good-looking he was. I got a compliment and a question, whether I am a professional photographer. His honest and simple way of talking showed me that he wasn’t trying to please me with this question. Instead, his was more self-assured and grateful for what my photo gave back to him. I felt he was speaking from his heart.

Portrait1

We kept talking things like, where we come from, and I stopped clicking to shake hands and introduce ourselves. It felt good to have trusted my guts and have shown to someone who, in turn, could be trusted too.

When he pointed the photo he liked the most, we decided to continue the session, as it was fun. We carried on talking. I asked him to think of someone he loves. The answer came in the form of an open face laughing loud, with a big set of teeth at my disposal to capture. We connected in laughter. The verbal answer came in due time: “I haven’t yet found someone who loves me. That was a good question!”.

Portrait 2

I offered to email the photos to him but he didn’t want to have them. Permission granted though, to post them when I wanted it in my blog!

I made these shots yesterday, when I was shooting the Bee’s Tables, which you can see here. I talked about serendipity, as I hadn’t imagined the images would fit perfectly the theme of the Weekly Photo Challenge.

I also hadn’t imagined that the opposite of fear, would have been loss. Loss of an opportunity.

This post is for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, hosted by LindaGHill. The prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: opposites in emotion. “If trying to come up with two opposites before you start is too much thinking, try writing about one emotion and see if the opposite comes out of your stream of consciousness naturally.”

57 thoughts on “Can You Trust a Stranger?

  1. I was felling a little down before I read this post, and the story you tell is one of such warmth and humanity I am now smiling from ear to ear.

    Great portrait and you have a knack for telling a story too…

    Thank you for sharing this Lucile

  2. Asking him to think of someone he loves is the most amazing way to get a natural and joyous smile for this portrait ! Even if he said he had not found someone yet, his expression is priceless! And indeed he’s a good-looking man!
    It’s curious how he didn’t want a copy of your great pics… I wonder why? Maybe he wanted to capture and keep that special moment with you and your camera in the present time and remain with the pleasant memory in his mind…
    A really lovely tribute to your kindness and outreaching spirit towards humanity… And you’re a great photographer too!

    • It works always Lia. I normally just talk to the person and try often to not use the viewfinder to keep eye contact, but the best is when they don’t see that I’m shooting. I learned that from a Dutch photographer who makes amazing portraits just asking this to people. They don’t see him, as they are inside a sort of separate part of the studio, while he’s shooting from distance. They are asked to just think about the person they most love. They cannot wear make up, or nothing unnatural. The photos are stunning. My husband got a shooting session as a gift form on of our friends and I went there with him. Absolutely beautiful work.
      But he is a professional and I m not at his league at all.
      I was surprised too that he didn’t want to have his photos but I grabbed by his words that he valued more the encounter the serendipity.
      It was a gift I got from him. His photos are priceless.
      I do appreciate your kindness and consideration. You are a great encouragement to my experimentation with photography; and I truly value your opinion.
      Heartfelt thanks.

      Lucile

      • I see how the viewfinder would take away from keeping eye contact with your subject…and I am amazed how you take a photo of someone without them noticing! Sometimes, a portrait is best taken when the person doesn’t expect it. But in this gentleman’s case, it was great that he was able to interact with you and you got to know him better!
        Oh, the Dutch photographer sounds wonderful…I can imagine that his session was an incredible thing to witness. It’s true that our eyes can express love, attraction and emotion when we think about the people we love. What a great opportunity to work with him…and a perfect gift idea too that was given to your husband.
        I’m honored that I can encourage your photographic experimentation! You are the same for me…
        Much love from NYC — finally warmer today…40 degrees Fahrenheit!
        Lia :-))))

  3. We plan and plan our time so we don’t waste a minute! Then an unexpected moment can be the most enriching. I’m sure your encounter lightened his spirit too.

  4. Those photos are great! It’s interesting that they turned out so well with someone who doesn’t like to be photographed. He must have really felt comfortable with you and trusted you. I don’t like to be photographed either. The only photos I ever post of myself are ones I’ve taken. Everyone else’s photos of me suck, because I can’t warm up to the camera with someone else present. I use that “think of someone you love” trick when I’m taking selfies. It works well when I’m happy about being in love. It doesn’t work so well when I’m depressed about being in love, which was the case with my most recent blog profile photo. I took 117 photos to try and get one where I looked genuinely happy. I managed to get one that was “good enough” out of the entire bunch. I failed to get that lit from within look I this little trick usually creates.

    • Thank you, Amy. Indeed, it’s remarkable how relaxed he stayed while I shot. I was talking a lot to him and because I was not using the viewfinder, it was easier to make eye contact and make it more relaxing.

      I relate entirely to what you said. I love making people’s photos but never mine. Very seldom I like my photos, as I don’t relax at all in front of a camera. I have some of my own photos shot for business purpose, by the only photographer I feel at ease; she also shot the photos of my wedding.
      Funny that you use the same about thinking of someone you love… It works a lot. People always let the guard go off.
      It doesn’t work with for me though. Lol
      Maybe we should photograph each other, as we know what it feels like!
      Cheers!

      • In recent years I’ve been even more uncomfortable with the idea of having my photo taken. Far too many people post every single picture they shoot, good or bad, on the net for the entire world to see. I really make a point of posting only the good ones or the ones that show “the soul” of the subject.

        It would be fun to see what would happen if we shot each other. Maybe we’ll meet someday.

  5. It is 11:00, I said to myself “one more post before I go to bed”, scrolled down my reader, and it was yours.
    Lucile, this is beautiful. I am so touched by the tenderness of the moment, two human strangers, and a camera as a springboard to strike up this wonderful causerie.
    Thank you for sharing, and brightening my day! 🙂
    ~Carl~

  6. I can quite easily understand why he would think that you are a professional photographer, Lucile. Your photos are always excellent! A lovely story, and I’m sure that it was you that brought out the best in the man’s natural-looking portraits 🙂

  7. Love this post ! I knew the option you’ d take, don’t ask me why 😉 And you did right, what a lovely moment you had, love the smiles from the text and from the pict! and as usual, all wrapped in the sweetest warmth X

  8. This is the beauty of street photography – when you open up your mind to it and take chances. Then you encounter surprising and delightful situations like this. You did capture some very nice photos.

What do you think? I'd love to hear it all.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s