On Saturday, I got off my butt and finally convinced myself that today was the day to do street portraits of strangers. I woke up, lay in bed playing tricks with mind. I was convincing myself that “its too cloudy for it today” (too cloudy!! haha! what an excuse!? clouds are the best!)…Or “it could rain”… “People are shopping for Christmas it may be too busy”… “You’re going to the Arsenal match later, don’t take your expensive gear with you”… “You may miss your train, then you won’t have enough time to shoot”.
I told my mind to shut up and just do it. This was key for me. Excuses are always there. The same ones are there just before you approach your first person, but once you get your first yes, and then the next and the next, you forget why you worried in the first place. Wasted energy.
Ill start from the beginning. Last year, I shot some street portraits with a friend, Alex Beadon. I had an amazing time and since then I’ve always wanted to do it again. Alex gave me the kick up the butt to try it out and having her by my side made it easier. It was still super tough and I was scared asking people if I could take their photo.
I had to do it again.
One, to see if I could do it and two, to feel that rush I felt last year. It was an amazing buzz.
I also need to keep pushing myself and trying new things. Getting out of my comfort zone. (That was usually my reply when people asked why (usually after they said ‘yes’) as to why I was doing this).
Doing it solo
A new thing for me here was trying it solo. The first approach is always the hardest. The first few people said no. Then the gentleman below pictured first said yes! I was surprised I even got the eye in focus my hand was shaking so much. It continued to shake for the next 5 or 6 and composition wise, I feel the photos could be better but the fact I got the image is what I’m most proud of.
The 85mm 1.8 is a fantastic lens. I’m in love with its sharpness, the stunning bokeh it produced and its ability to isolate my subjects beautifully. It’s a great portrait lens! I’m sure it will be used often at weddings and I’m looking forward to that. Most of all, I loved the fact that it gave me a comfortable distance between me and my subject. Not too close, not too far. The compression in the images is great for its focal length and that’s what I wanted. No awkward 50mm in front of a stranger getting too close and bending my subjects features. No massive 70-200mm torpedo pointed at my subjects head. Just the perfect lens for what I wanted.
I have other ideas for street/strangers portraits but for now, my aim was to just get out there and shoot.
So here are the results…
Thank you to all the kind people who said ‘yes’, who stopped and chatted with me and encouraged me. [If you’d like your portrait, please email me at info(@)sachinkhona(.) com and I’ll gladly email you a copy]
This gentleman above was the first to say yes! Massive thank you to you Sir!
The lady in the middle was really encouraging. We spoke about street portraits and the amazing work of Bill Cunningham. She also introduced me to two amazing websites I’ll definitely looking more into. They are The Satorialist and Garance Dore’s blog.
One of my favs above! Thank you Sir!
A mother (right) and her son (left). I smile every time I see these photos. Thanks mum for letting me take a picture of your son! I passed the interrogation successfully and you let me take your photo too! :)Getting the above 3 fellas to stop smiling was tough. (I always ask for a neutral expression for consistency in my images) They were so excited for me to take their shots. Probably more than I was of taking theirs!
Thank you for letting me take your portraits.
The fella in the hat above probably wouldn’t have made my set as I can’t see his eyes. But the story here is he carried a Leica M9 and was with his 2 friends, one of whom was Bruce Gilden, a magnum photographer! It’s amazing who you bump into on the streets.
My final portrait that day was of the girl above. I saw her eyes from 20 metres away and I knew I had to have a portrait of her. She kindly said yes.
Thank you again everyone for letting me take your portrait. It was a lot of fun for me!