Summer in Sydney - Dollar Portraits Shoot
by, 01-15-2009 at 10:32 PM (1939 Views)
On my way home one day I ran into a very pretty girl reading a newspaper. I approached her for a portrait. I don't recall my exact words but it went something like this, "Please don't think I'm a psycho but..." As I approach people on the street some of them look at me with this frightened look so I begin with that line. I'm building an arsenal of lines and reading people very quickly. I won't pretend I get them all right and some will always say no despite anything I say.
One thing I can count on is friends. They never say no and if they do I'll make them turn around and wish me luck. I had a couple of ideas for portraits that don't include the face of those special people that are worried their soul will be stolen. One is crossing fingers behind their back and the other... you'll have to wait and see.
My walk last Friday started as always from the QVB in Sydney. I made my way down towards Hyde Park where I usually start to shoot. This time however I met two chaps on the way to the park. The first guy hardly spoke any English but agreed to have his photo taken. As I was setting up I began to explain why I was taking the photo. I must have been on auto pilot because it all fell on deaf ears. I'm rather happy with this portrait although it is a stop too dark. Just wish I had more detail on the right eye and I do love the dark left eye as it is. Precisely 13 and a half steps later I ran in to an interesting and willing character outside Allan's Music. He was seated but insisted on standing up and posing for me. Sadly I missed the focus but he still deserves my donated dollar.
Arriving at Hyde Park I was a bit disappointed to see the council had taken over a big chunk of the park for the Sydney Festival. I should say I was photographically disappointed only as they were taking over a huge part of my turf. Never mind though for the sun was shining and people were still about relaxing like this fellow. Approaching him and getting him to participate was the easiest thing ever. He even asked me how he should pose.
Music gadgets are everywhere and often I have to disturb people as they enjoy their Otis Redding or Billy Idol. The guy in the first one was a champ and let me take my time. The second one is an interesting photo. I did rush it but it came out OK. Note the reflection in her sunnies and also note her boyfriend who was behind me walking towards us...
At Hyde Park I run into lots of tourists and skaters. The tourist was part of a huge group of males from Europe who all wanted to pose in one photo. When I insisted on just the one guy they all started teasing him in their language. As for the skaters, they all seem to hang out near the water where I found this awesomely wicked character. Sweat was pouring from him from exertion, his t-shirt rocked all on its own and his mustache was cooler than anything you've ever seen or done in your life. I took a real liking to this fellow. He was nervous, twitchy and seemed scared of me but as soon as I explained what I was doing he was all for it.
Getting close to wrapping up my shoot I found this lovely couple who were just enjoying the day under a tree while a few meters away an old lady was drawing a tree. She commented on my big fat camera and agreed with me that film has a certain charm.
Out of the corner of my eye I spy a curious little button bouncing around with all the confidence in the world. She radiated friendliness and was easy to approach. Chase even I admit. I didn't have to chase my last two photos though. A small group of girls were relaxing and playing the air guitar while sharing an iPod. I simply had to fit them all in so I offered $2 for their portrait and a dollar for the last.
As a last note there are always some interesting ones that get away with saying no. On this walkabout I got 3 rejections and the last guy was a spy! His excuse for not wanting his portrait taken was that he's famous and he didn't want to give himself away. I somehow mentioned spies and he then insisted that he was one. Sure he might have been slightly crazy and for that reason he's my fish that got away.