Portrait of Harriet, an Australoian Architecture Student hiking the Fjords of Norway. Sitting on a rock atop a Fjord in Bergan, sketching the countryside.

Meet Harriet. She's from Duri, a small town outside Sydney, Australia. I met her atop a Fjord mountain-top in Bergen, Norway. She's studying architecture in Uni, and has been traveling Europe. The weather had a short break in the rain, and she decided today was the day to get a hike in before she left her 3 days in a Hostel in Norway, and headed to the UK. She'll continue through Europe before finally returning to Australia for her studies in January. 

We got to talking about architecture, and she told me she really loves the research going on into new materials, especially organic research. She has one foot in sustainability, and another on helping the indigenous people in Australia. We got to talking about Biomimicry, and the organic research pavilions ICD/ITKE have been working on. I also told her about Open House NY. 

When I left her, she had stopped to sketch the wild autumn landscapes of the South Norway Fjord-top fields, before she headed back down the steep face of Bergen's fjords. 

(61/100 Strangers)

Danielle, from Marathon, Texas (60/100 Straingers) Meet Danielle, from Marathon, Tx. I found her behind the counter of an upscale coffee shop on a warm afternoon. She found her way to West Texas via the National Park Service, where she was a part of the fire brigade. After working for the Parks Service, she spent time teaching English in Boquillas, Mexico, just across the border from Rio Grand Village, Texas. She told me that when the border closed, Boquillas, beign 2 days travel from the next Mexican town, was devistated. "They went back to the stone age." Even with money, they'd have no where to spend it. She says that some of the best firefighters in the country lived across the border. Even with the border closed, when there was a fire, they would be allowed entry, in order to help the Parks Service. In 2013, she told me, they reached an agreement for limited border openings, a few days a week. They depend upon tourists coming over from Big Bend, one of the least visited National Parks in the country. Danielle lived in New Mexico before coming to Texas. The rest of her family lives in New York. This picture is #60 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page.
Frankie, in Astoria (55/100 Strangers) "I'm trying this look now," Frankie told me, referring to his long hair. Frankie and his friend Rocco have been back in New York for 4 months to the day, when I met them outside the Astoria Koffman Studios, on the edge of Astoria and Long Island City. They're both actors, and had moved back from Florida. "I lived in New York in the 70's. It was very different then." Frankie is a character actor, and during that time, played parts in movies such as Taxi Driver and Saturday Night Fever. He finds himself talking to a lot of strangers, including me. "Here in New York, when you talk to people, they look at you funny, like 'What do you want from me.' But that's a whole other discussion." After leaving New York, he spend 20 years working on a cruise ship. In some cases, even there, people had a muted version of the same reaction when Frankie would start talking to them, "but they saw the cruise director uniform, and [it all made sense]." Now Frankie and Rocco are back here. He lives in Manhattan, and is trying out parts. I asked him how stressful it is trying for parts where an inch or 10 pounds makes a different. "It's stressful, but it doesn't bother me [like it used to]. I tired out for a dead body, but I guess they wanted someone bigger." I'm not sure if he was kidding, but he offered some real insight, and it was fascinating talking to him. He showed me a few of his character looks for a part he was trying out for. He was warm, funny and had a lot to say. Talking with he and Rocco was definitely the best part of my day. Thanks for taking the time, Frankie, and good luck in your next audition! -- This picture is #55 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page
Curley, from Manhattan Kansas, at the Library (57/100 Strangers) "If you want to pan for gold, Idaho is the best place to do it," Curley told me. He's panned most of the western states, from New Mexico up to Idaho. While Colorado isn't on that list, he lived there for a while, too. Curley has friends all over, and has been to about every state west of Ohio. "Many of [my friends] are from the military," Curley told me, although he hasn't served himself. He's also seen plenty of them die before him. At 79, "Many of [my friends] sit in front of the television." Not him, though. He still works every day, "although not too much, luckily." Curley smiled as he told me this. He attributes this to his health at 79, and prefers to read, or spend time outside. He'll even throw on a back brace, and mow lawns, while many of his friends prefer retirement. From 12am - 4 in the morning, he listens to national radio programs, if there's anything good on, and gets about 2-3 hours of sleep a night. I laughed, "I don't know how you do it." Curley smiled. "Neither do I." -- This picture is #57 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page
Barclay, from Panama, at Pier 15 (54/100 Strangers) "I'm from Panama. You know the Panama Canal?", Barclay asked me. 21 years ago, he moved to New York, after Noreiga was arrested. "I was his bodyguard." -- He's retired now, but he worked for the Grand Central Post Office. When I asked him if he missed Panama, he told me he's much better life now then he ever did there. I met him on the eve of Mother's Day, but he was already celebrating, despite being the only one alive from his family, aside from a sister (still in Panama). We spoke for quite a while. He had a lot to say on the latest news, and pulled out the paper to discuss recent stories. "I like to read," he told me. We spoke about the owner of the LA Clippers, President Obama, and Hillary running for office. He also liked hear about me, and told me he loves meeting people. He was a bit distraught about how people let unsavory things trip them up, but seemed will to give many people a fair shot. -- When complimenting him on his attire, Barclay told me he dresses this way every day. -- This picture is #54 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page
Stevie in Dumbo, from Beijing (53/100 Strangers) Originally from Beijing, I ran across Stevie in Dumbo, admiring the Manhattan Bridge. She's a model, and had just finished up a photo shoot. -- Even as a candid, Stevie drew everyone's attention, seeming to fit right in the with towering manhattan bridge, and the cast iron gates. I just had to ask for her photo. -- Stevie came to New York to work on he BA in Fashion Management, and has been modeling for the last 2 years, as she finishes up her degree in Midtown. When not of the set, she resides just across the Hudson near Jersey City.
Alanzoe, from Brooklyn, in SoHo (52/100 Strangers) Meet Alanzoe. We meet months ago, in SoHo. He's from Brooklyn, and studying to be a Tatoo artist.
M and Makenzey, on the Holiday Train (51/100 Strangers) (715/365)
Hakim, from Brooklyn, on the Holiday Train (50/100 Strangers)
Kaylani, of London, from Queens (48/100 Strangers) Kaylani and I started talking on a bench in the subway. The Halloween parade had shut down the station at West 4th, and we were both headed to Queens. Her daughter would say she talks too much, but we all think that about our parents. I know I did. A native of The UK, she spent 5 years dancing in one of the best clubs in London. Feathers and all that. She came to the US with her now husband at least 20 years ago, and has a daughter who does theater in Florida. Born a country girl, she hitched a ride in a lorri as soon as she could, and headed for London. She's been a city girl ever since. We were both having a bit of a sour end to our day before striking up our conversation. She rode local for a few extra stops so we could continue our conversation. I asked he about her move to a foreign place, and she told me that, at first, she cried all the time. Slowly, she adjusted. In a way, I think she helped my own feelings towards adjusting to a new city. I really felt a nice connection with her, and probably could have talked for hours. Once, while doing her makeup in Cony Island, a girl asked to take her portrait. She said the sea was lovely, and that the picture must have come out nice. I asked her if she ever saw the picture. She told me no, but that it would have been nice. I should remember to send here this picture, as proof to her daughter that people are always asking for her photo. -- This picture is #48 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page

Benz on the R

(47/100 Strangers) "My name is Benz, like the Car," she told me over the rumble of the R train. She'd been here just three months, leaving her native Thailand to study language. The second she stepped on the train, she stood out. After a few minutes, I couldn't help but ask for a photo. Benz was traveling back to Queens with her friend, also a non-native New Yorker of 2 years, who she met in her school program. When I asked Benz about here time here, she told me "I'm hoping to spend a lot more time over here," maybe 1, 2 or 3 years. Before photographing her, I noticed she particularly stood out when she was talking to her friend, looking away from the camera. I wanted to capture that look, although didn't realize it until after our interaction had ended. While they sat just across from me, I didn't want to draw out our time, and impose for too long. Otherwise, technical aspects I ran into were a low shutter speed. I generally stay above 1/160th for people, which I did here. Unfortunately, her best shots were when she was moving, and her hand would come out blurry. While I prefer landscape, I chose portrait here to include here hand, which I wanted to include to incorporate more of her style. Thanks for taking the time out, Benz! It was a pleasure.

Noble in Yonkers Train Station (46/100 Strangers) After a 7 hour train ride from Niagra Falls, Noble arrived in Yonkers. He and his wife was on their way to New York to visit friends, and I met him en route. Noble is a video editor for an Indian station with offices in Ontario and NY, and loves his profession. In his spare time, he is starting an audio streaming radio network. I ran into him taking pictures of his wife, while they awaited their next train, a meer 30 minutes north of Manhattan. He was a truly passionate, friendly guy, and a pleasure to chat with. With such a backdrop, there was large temptation to feature it in the shot, although I'm happy not to distract from Noble's welcoming demeanor. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me, Noble! I was a pleasure to meet you both! -- This picture is #46 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page
Charlie and Mr P (45/100 Strangers) (602/365) "You ready to take a million dollar picture?" Charlie was a talker. "I don't know what I'm saying most of the time. I just say it." As I began taking pictures of this man sitting on the sidewalk, his buddy chimed in from a few feet away. "That's Mr. P." Charlie had him laughing the entire time, and seemed to have something to say to everyone who walked by. Women, men, even little kids. Charlie spends 6 days a week on W 7th Street, and Mr P works security for a building Mon-Fri. After his mother and father died, his sister took over their land, and unable to take it, he moved to New York from the South. "That was 40 years ago. I was mixed up with the wrong crowd, I guess." Charlie spent some time in prison, but "I'm not a child molester, I didn't hurt anyone, and I've never done any drugs. I never will. I am an alcoholic." He seemed to have his wits about him, and had a good spirit toward everyone. "I'm homeless, not helpless." The entire time, Charlie was kidding around, including this shot where he asked Mr. P to act like he was arresting Charlie. The biggest struggle for this shoot was chosing a shot to represent Charlie's personality. He made so many poses, and interacted with so many people. He gave me a good 30-40 shots before we ended. I have been using my 85mm, which forces me to move back from my subject to get the framing right. That has also offered some feels where I feel I'm backing away from my subjects, and sending the wrong message. As a result, my crops are often very tight.
Arlene from Chelsea (44/100 Strangers) Arlene was the most delightful person I spoke to during my visit on the Highline. While she confessed her position at the Met (or was it Natural History?) keeps her talkative, we spend a majority of our conversation speaking about The Highline, and it's comparison to the Plazas and Promanade's of Europe. She also had many things to say about the area, and the community of 21st Street in Particular. She told me that most people in the area have dogs, and so don't make it up to the Highline much. Arelene was also eager to try different things, although she confessed she doesn't like posing. We did some shots through a crowd, which she really liked the idea of. I got so caught up in conversation, that I regret not taking a few more pictures, particularly through the crowd. I've posted one of those as well, but I wanted to include this warm shot of her, one of the earliest in our encounter. -- This picture is #44 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page
Edward on the Highline (43/100 Strangers) (600/365) I noticed the details of Edward's outfit, and knew I needed to talk to him. He works in fashion for a relatively famous designer, and I found him on the Highline. While we only spoke for a minute, he did mention he is from Rego Park, in Queens. Thanks for taking the time, Edward! -- From a technical perspective, the Highline was pretty crowded here, and in an area with a lot of shade. As I wasn't within a few feet of any light, I didn't want to move him too far from where we met, so I found myself stuck with flat colors. Not much I can do, although I think a less dynamic background would have been a better choice. -- This picture is #43 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page
Rupali and Manju on the Highline (42/100 Strangers) (600/365 )Meet Rupali and Manju. Manju is visting Rupali (pictured left), who moved here 15 months ago from Wisconson to persue here career in banking. "They've been here several times now, so we're mostly taking it easy." Rupali told me she loves it here, although her first year at work she had to put in some pretty long hours. While Manju was, they visited Sumbo and the WTC Memorial. They were warm and a delight to talk to, although Rupali did all the talking. Thanks for taking the time to talk, guys! -- This picture is #42 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page

Coby, in Dumbo (41/100 Strangers) 

I met Koby, who was working on a project in Dumbo. He's a street artists, and whe got to talking about the state of art today. "It's dead," he told me. "No one is doing anything interesting anymore." He told me about the decline of the works in Dumbo and Williamsburg, which have now died. He said that the few years preceeding the neighborhood changes, everything was unoriginal and stale. 

In Bushwick, where he currently lives, "things have already changed so much in the past year." He told me the only place left is East New York, "and no one's gonna move there." Coby gave me his card before we parted. You can find some of his projects at CobyKennedy.com. Thanks for taking the time to talk, Coby. -- On a technical note, I saw Coby, and knew I wanted to initiate a conversation. I saw a few other photographers approach him, but no one talked to him. He was really friendly, and had some interesting things to say about the conversation of the changing city, and the status of art.

Because of my conversational style, I had difficulty with my 85mm lens, and maintaining interaction. I kept having to back away, particularly because I like to include my portraits in their environment. A 50mm would have been easier here, although I like hvaing the compression of a semi-zoom lens more and more. He also had a roller, but my only shot with that in frame came out blurry, because of the focus distance on the 85mm 1.2. That was my biggest regret here. I also tried a few where I turned him away from the sun, and stopped down, but those didn't work well. I wish I had more time with him, but as before, the distance I had to maintain really made engagement while shooting difficult. As always, I was near a loud source of noise, under the trains by the Manhattan Bridge. Over all, these challeneges did hinder me a bit.

Marie Eve, in Montreal (40/100 Strangers) I ran into Marie just outside of Pikolo Espresso Bar, in Montreal. Originally from Ottawa, she came to Montreal 14 years earlier, both for school, as well as culture and friends. She was absolutely friendly, and willing to participate in the strangers project. After talking, we learned that she had just returned from New York 3 days earlier, after taking her mother, who had never been. She plans to return shortly. -- This picture is #40 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page
Shelly, in Soho (39/100 Strangers) When asked about her love of New York, Shelly told me she loves the busyness the most. Originaly from Florida, she moved here 3 years ago for a job in fashion. This same style is what drew me to her. She was really cool about having her portrait taken, despite apologizing for being a bit shy. Thanks for taking the time out, Shelly!
Papo, at the Harlem Meer (38/100 Strangers) I met Papo at the Harlem Meer, in Upper East Central Park. He began our conversation by telling me the frogs and fish he used to catch here as a boy. He grew up on 108th Street, before venturing out of the city to the Metro North lines, where he worked as a Dental Technician. Papo is on hard times, "but I never take public assistance. I think taking it makes me lazy." While he mentioned how foolish he was for not using the system he once paid into, I think he is smarter than most. Before I left, he asked me not to linger in the park. "The sun's going down soon," he told me. Papo was a sentimental and considerate guy. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me, Papo.
Tony from The Upper East Side (36/100 Strangers) "That's a great picture," he said. Tony had taken nearly the same shot the day before, and he pulled it up on his phone. Tony is a doorman at a fancy building on the Upper East Side. He was born in The Bronx and grew up in Westchester. "The Bronx, Westchester, and now here? I'm moving up." We spoke of people better off than us, but Tony says that here, even the rich see people around them, and are greatful. He is, too. After spending a year on unemployment, "I freaked out, and had to start looking for a job. I'm glad I found this. It was hard to be motivated while I was making $300 a week to sit around, but not after that ran out." Tony is also the super for his dad's building. "Without my dad, I'm not sure how successful I'd be." Tony had a lot to say, and we spent about 20 minutes talking in front of his building. Thanks for taking the time out, Tony. -- From a technical aspect, Tony had the idea to glance away, although we tried both shots. The light here is pretty much untouched on Tony, with a bit of burning in the right of the background, to keep things a bit flat.
Richard, at the Pop-Up Piano in Lincoln Center (35/100 Strangers) Two weeks before his 18th Birthday, Richard received a letter. "Thanks to the great service of our countrymen, we have won the war." With World War II ending, they suggested he try to get out of the draft, "but that was impossible." There was a lot more pressure to serve back then, and Richard found himself in Germany, lecturing the troops. "It was illegal to even speak to a German. That was before I arrived." As a part of his duties, he was the only one allowed the lecture the Germans. When asked what gave him that privilege, he wasn't sure why. "Even then, you couldn't date a German. But then, colonels were you guys who had just killed 35 guys, so you can imagine how well that rule stuck." Richard was also a photography buff, and would walk down an entire block, photographing each house. He would walk up to the door, show off the picture of their house, and sell it to them. "I sold a lot of work that way. If the husband wasn't interested, the wife would be. She would say 'Oh, we put the window boxes (flowers) out that day, we have to buy it!'" Later, he hired a crop duster to fly him low over the neighborhoods, directing him lower and lower, until the pilot was uncomfortable. "And he was a duster. He was used to flying low." He would take shots from above. You could see houses that would normally be surrounded by shrubs, or other obstructions. When he wasn't serving in the military, Rich directed four cameras for live television. "It was live back then. If you made a mistake, a hundred thousand people would see it. So we didn't make mistakes." His girlfriend of 20 years is also no stranger to the camera. She works side-by-side with the camera crew and director, and is responsible for the consistency from shot to shot. She just got back from filming in the Pyrenees, in Northern Spain. I found Richard by the pop-up piano in Lincoln Center. we spoke for about half an hour before I asked to take his portrait. Richard was very helpful, and as

Umberto from Munich

(1/88 Pianists, 34/100 Strangers) This is Umberto. He's a flgiht attendant from Munich, and with his 24 hours in New York, met with his friend Robert to play some of the 88 pianos around New York City. They met on YouTube, where they both have channels. Umberto told me he plans to go to Brooklyn Bridge Park at 6 am to enjoy the skyline and piano before his flight. -- For the next 2 weeks, New York is hosting 88 pop-up Street pianos, free to be played. During this time, I will attempt to photograph up to 88 different strangers playing them. Some I will interview, some will be candids of strangers. As many as possible will be on different pianos, of which I will try to visit a few each day. Umberto I found next to the Library, on 40th Street.

Carlos from Kipps Bay, on Park Ave (33/100 Strangers) "Take my Picture," he said. I didn't know what to make of Carlos, but he was forward and friendly. I didn't even notice most of the detail to him, as he spelled his last name for me. "It's Dutch," he told me. Carlos has been particing with his band every day for the past 6 months. "It's hard to get everyone under one roof. When we finish, we travel across Europe and Asia." When I asked if he played around New York, he said no. I spent part of my time taking down his address, as he has no email. -- On a technical note, I took this shot first, at his request, and then tried to reposition him with a more contrasting background. The light was wierd at this point, and subsiquent shots, while better contrasting, did not capture his initial boldness. Instead, I ended up doing a lot of burning and dodging on this photo to bring things out. I only took 5 shots of him, but knew I had something. I wish I spent more time talking to him, but his accent was, at times, difficult to understand, and I was rushing for Sunset. -- This picture is #33 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page
Stephanie at the Yahoo Event in Times Square (30/100 Strangers) This is Stephanie. She designed the Yahoo Flickr event in Times Square. Although I found her in New York, she's only been here 3 times. Instead, she grew up in Wyoming, until attending school in So Cal for studies in Design. From there, she moved to Yahoo. She was my first stranger at the Yahoo event, and was super willing to participate. Almost right away, I was drawn to her style and welcoming demenour, and she was a blast to talk to. -- On a technical standpoint, I was hesitant to do the Strangers project at an event like this, although it couldn't have been easier, as I got full cooperation from people. I also feel almost as if I'm starting over, havning hardly worked on the 100 Strangers since last fall. As for lighting, you can see things were not ideal. I tried to position her perpendicular to a light board, which caused blown out highlights in some cases, and poor lighting around the eyes in the other. This is the best from the photos I managed, which is a shame, as Stephanie was a beautiful subject with a great smile, and a fantastic style. Thanks so much for participating Steohanie! Your event was beautiful, and we're happy to have a Wyoming representative in New York!
Cindy Li, at the Yahoo Event (31/100 Strangers) This is Cindy. She's a designer at Flickr, and I found her at the Yahoo Event in Times Square. A long term Flickr user, she now posts mostly food photos. After moving from Florida, "My mom would always seem to call when I was making Spaghetti. After a while, it would seem as if this was my regular diet." She starting posting regular photos of her food, and eventually alleviated her mom's fears about her choice of meals. -- Since moving to the West Coast, she has played a role in the new Flickr iPhone ap, and today's redesign of Flickr. -- Technically, Cindy was a fantastic 100 Strangers experience. She was friendly, and did not rush me through the process. She was active in choosing a backdrop for the shot, and was even willing to try a few different locations. While I had several good shots of her, I like this one the most, where she thought as she answered several of my questions during the shoot. Thanks for taking the time out, Cindy. And thanks for all your hard work on the changes to Flickr!
Pepign from Holland, in Two Bridges (32/100 Strangers) Pepign (pronounced similar to Pipen) is spending several weeks in the United States, visting the Bronx home of his Grandfather, Walter. Walter was born in the Bronx in 1907, although Pepign now lives in Holland. I ran into him on the East River Esplanade, Downtown. He told me he loves talking to people, and even met strangers in The Bronx. "I met some of The Latinos there. They respected me, because my Grandfather was from here." Pepign also showed me a large scare on his head, from a car accident. A car hit him, and he didn't have his seat belt on. "I had two angels," referring to each shoulder, which kept him from being thrown from the car. He said it could have easily gone the other way. Thanks for taking the time out, Pepign.
Dzevahira from Brooklyn (29/100 Strangers) / (499/365) Dzevahira approached me in Times Square. We'd both been listening to a performer, and her son is interested in Photography. I tried to talk to her about her experiences in New York, where she has resided for the last 50 years. Unfortunately, the music and arriving N Train kept my hearing to a minimum. I believe she moved here from Armenia. She worked for a long time, but not any more, thanks to "this." Upon saying this, she raised her cane. She has a son (maybe 10 years old?), and was very friendly, and accomodating. She was also very trusting, a trait I would not have expected to find in New York, had you asked me 2 years ago. It was a great pleasure to meet you, Dzevahira. Thanks for talking to me! From a technical standpoint, I'm out of practice on my 100 Strangers project, and did not spend enough time on this portrait. I've lost touch on taking my time to get the subject just right, as well as talking and shooting at the same time. This was my best out of the shots, although I only took 5. I struggled a bit, too, because it was so hard to hear in the subway, making a flowing conversation difficult. I hope to keep this in mind when I approach my next stranger. -- This picture is #27 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page -- This picture is #27 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page
Drew from The Bronx (28/100 Strangers) When Drew asked me what I would like to order, I hesitated, so he asked if I wanted to take his picture. He was joking aorund, but I jumped right in. He grabbed his coworker Anna for a quick snap. I didn't speak to him again until 15 minutes later, as I was getting rready to leave. He's been at this location for 2 years, and we spoke about the differences between The East Side, and my location in Midtown. He mentioned living somewhere in the East Bronx, although the exact neighborhood escapes me. I wish I had taken more time to speak with him, but he still made my night. Thanks for the photo, Drew!--This picture is #28 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page

Isabelle from Montreal, at Bethesda Terrace

(27/100 Strangers)

"I'm on my way to Ethiopia." This was Isabelle's first time in Central Park, and we crossed paths several times photographing the area surrounding Bethesda Terrace. We both spent a good amount of time below the terrace, photographing and listening to a Guitarist, who for a while, was performing only for us.

We took turns photographing the guy, and after she left, I felt I should talk to her, and see if she was posting the photos. She's visiting from Montreal, and joining her boyfriend in Africa, where he is already cycling.

When I asked her about Central park, she told me she expected it to be more wild.

Thanks for taking the time out, Isabelle! 

Sperri (and Erika) on Second Ave

(26/100 Strangers)

This is Sperri (like the shoes), and her owner, Erika. I found them outside a popular frozen yogurt spot on 2nd ave. Erika is from nearby, and upon seeing her dog Sperri poking her head out of her purse, I had to ask for the shot. Erika was friendly, and played along, asking if I wanted a candid shot. At first she kept looking at her iPhone, and after a minute we started talking. She began making eye contact with the camera, which is generally good. However, I struggled to get a shot of them both, and nabbed this shot while she was looking away. While I wanted a shot of them both, I think I'm even happier with how this turned out.

Thanks erika (and Sperri). You guys made my night!

Trina and Tanya from Saskatchewan

(25/100 Strangers, 408/365)

Meet Trina and Tanya. Trina's getting married, and Tanya flew in with her to pick up her wedding dress. They have clothing stores in 4 cities, including Saskatoon, and I found them in Times Square.

When I asked them about Saskatchewan, they thought a New Yorker would have no interest in their province. However, after explaining I like nature, they quickly revealed their hometown pride. From their home, the northern lights dance clearly off the thousands of lakes, of which Saskatchewan has the most of any province in Canada.

Not wanting to seem too American, I held back telling them that I religiously watched Little Mosque on the Prairie, a CBC show filmed partly in Saskatchewan. I did, however, express my interest in visiting their region of Canada.

Trina and Tanya were a delight, and as I walked away, I heard what sounded like delight in our encounter. While doing this project, it makes me even happier when I can provide people with a positive experience of New Yorks.

Thanks, Tanya and Trina. It was a delight meeting you, and including you in my project!

You can find their website here: <a href="http://northshoreoutfitters.ca" rel="noreferrer nofollow">northshoreoutfitters.ca</a>

Jamar in Central Park

(24/100 Strangers)

This is Jamar. He approached me in Central Park, as I was getting ready to leave. He asked me to take his picture with his cellphone. It was getting pretty dark, so I offered to take a few with mine. He said he has some videos online, on You Tube, as drugga tv silencer. He's from Washington Heights. I said I wanted to visit his neighborhood, he was very encouraging.

I hesitated to posted any shots from my encounter, as I'm not happy with how they came out. The cold weather's been affecting my stranger shots, and even my focus. However, I'm happy to keep meeting new strangers, like Jamar. Thanks Jamar.

You can see some of his work here: <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXaEZyL0-Fg" rel="noreferrer nofollow">www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXaEZyL0-Fg</a>

Unknown Wader at Time Life

(23/100 Strangers)

When I approached him, someone was already taking his picture and talking to him. He had a friend who got him into this gig, which he's been doing for three years. He told me his name, but I completely forgot to write it down. When he's not doing this he deals in Christmas Trees. "Large ones."

He was repairing the steam engine Christmas decoration in front of the Time Life Building, where I used to work. He was a really friendly guy, and lives in New York.

I regret not getting a bit more of his story, and remembering his name, but it was pretty easy to talk to him. This project is getting easier, even when I might not always be in the right mindset to talk to strangers.

If you're reading this, please send me your name!

Sarah from Paris

(22/100 Strangers)

This is Sarah. She's from Paris, and I found here in Riverside Park, watching the Sunset. It was the golden hour, and seeing her sitting on the lawn with a coffee, appreciating the view, I got really excited, and had to take her photo. At first I wanted to capture her picknic-esque mood, but it quickly turned into a 100 Strangers shot.

Sarah has been here a little over a month, and is here persuing dance. She has a 3 month visa, and is loving The City so far. She told me that it was nice to break her perceptions of America and New York. "Everyone in Paris moves so far." When she came to NY, she found people went out of their way to stop and help her. She was really surprised by the people.

This is something I was happy to hear, as I love the people in our city, and always am trying to tell others how great we all our, not out of ego, but out of pride. I was ecstatic to hear someone from another country found the same experience!

Thanks for taking the time with me, Sarah. It was a blast, and now I only want visit Paris all the greater!

Bri at Keegan Ales

(21/100 Strangers)

This is Bri. She tends bar at Keegan Ales, a brewery in my home down. She had a great personality, and "likes to ham it up." She was working, so we only had a minute to talk and get the shot. She was perfect for my situation, as she moved here from Brooklyn 14 years ago. "I love it now, but I hated it at first." The people were a bit of an adjustment from the city. Now she fits right in, and all my local friends knew her by name. Apparently she does pin-up work. I wish I had a bit more time. I know I could have gotten a better shot of her with an extra couple of minutes, but I never wanna keep people away from their jobs, even if it's just for a short conversation. Maybe in the future I'll have another chance.

Thanks for taking the time, Bri. You were awesome.

Linda, Anora, Luveni, & Lynnette, at South Street Sea Port

(20/100 Strangers)

"How long have you been working here?"

"Every day, 8-8, for the last month." Linda seemed to be in charge of the group, these hard-working ladies cleaning up the mess left behind by Sandy. I met them at South Street Sea Port. Linda's brother jumped down on the tracks to save a infant <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57461882/samaritan-rescues-child-from-ny-subway-tracks/" rel="noreferrer nofollow">earlier this year</a>, so heroic work runs in the family.

The ladies were all quite friendly, and working 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week, for the past month can not be easy. It's people like these ladies that remind us not only how tough New York is, but how great many of it's citizens are.

Linda, Anora, Luveni, and Lynnette, you're part of what makes New York great.

So thanks.

Sal from Brooklyn, on Wall St

(19/100 Strangers)

I found Sal working on Williams St, with Con Edison, to pump out a garage full of sea water. Downtown Manhattan (Wall St) was one of the worst areas hit by Sandy, which flooded many areas of New York with as much as 12 feet of water. Sal couldn't even leave work to go to his home in Brooklyn from Sun to Wednesday. "We've been working non-stop, 12 hour shifts, and had to sleep in the office until Wednesday. For the first part of the week, there was no way to travel between the boros of New York. "We'd sleep in the office, maybe 3 or 4 hours at a time."

"I was here on 9/11, and this is worse. Then you had all the dust, but this is sea water. We've got 11 feet of salt water in many places, and that's the worst kind. It messes with everything."

On top of that, oil seeped into several areas of water, and they have to do tests to make sure it's safe. Sal didn't sound too happy about that last part.

Tomorrow, Sal and his partner are taking the day off.

Roger on Maiden Ln in Downtown Manhattan

(18/100 Strangers)

This all started because Roger asked for some change. I had refused someone last night, and it bothered me, so I gave him a few bucks, and he asked me if I wanted to take a picture.

Of course I did!

Roger had a lot to say. He was continuous, and there's no way I was going to remember this, so after 10 minutes of talking, I told him I wanted to tell the gist of our conversation.

"What do you remember?"
"I remember that you shouldn't dismiss authority, or even a gangster, because you can learn something from them."

"When someone has true authority, you should do what they say. Authority may not look like what we've been taught it looks like, but when they have authority, be it of earth, wind, fire, or whatever, do what they say."

Roger had a way of telling things. As we spoke, a well dressed woman skoffed as she rolled her eyes, walking by. But Roger reminded me of the way my Sifu talked. It may not be direct, and may sound a bit like a riddle, but there was always a massive truth hidden within his words.

I know Roger was one of my people, because when we finished, he said "I'm off to buy my comics. If I don't keep up on my comics, I lose touch with reality." (referring to the few bucks I had given him) "You helped me get them."

I have never been so proud for the donation of money in my life. I know a lot of my friends will love this, too.

Thanks Roger. You were really the most fantastic part of my day. 

Bonnie in Central Park

This is Bonnie. Originally from Korea, she's spent her past five years working in New York. She said she likes it here so far, although she misses here family. While they came to visit when she first moved here, they have not been over recently, although she just got back from a trip home.

Bonnie approached me, and wanted me to take a picture of her with the foliage with her iPhone. We seemed to be on similar missions, as I was out exploring New York for the exact same reason. I found Bonnie by the Poland statue in Central Park. She was really nice.

Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me, Bonnie!

Ignacio in Rockefeller Center, Concourse Level

(16/100 Strangers)

This is Ignacio. I found him in Blue Bottle Coffee in Rockefeller Center, on the concorse level. He had his Nikon camera out, and he was enjoying a cup of coffee. I couldn't help but ask him about his camera.

Ignacio is from the North Western region of Spain, and he travels to coffee farms, where he takes pictures of the farmers and their operation. While traveling, he also documents the coffee shops in whatever city he is in.

We spoke a bit about coffee, I mentioned Joes (my favourite coffee shop in New York), and he mentioned wanting to visit B&H to upgrade his camera. On the subject of coffee in particular, he was very passionate, and encouraged me to check out the project on his website. You can find him, and his work at <a href="http://www.cafesiboney.com" rel="noreferrer nofollow">www.cafesiboney.com</a>.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with me, Ignacio.

On a technical note, Ignacio was so interesting, I got caught up in conversation as opposed to photographing him. I normally like to talk to my subjects as I photograph them, but it didn't work out that way this time. I tried to do what I could with the light, but it was all small high hats, and lighting his eyes was not possible. We were also in a narrow space, and y I suspect I was annoying some of the staff by the location we were occupying while I got the shots. I even bumped into one of the guys during the shoot.

I still struggle to allow myself a minute to set up the shoot, aside from very basic lighting. I'd prefer to have more depth in the background, but often get caught up and aware of my subject's time. I'm not even 20 subjects in, so perhaps this will come with time.

While this is far from my best shot, I feel Ignacio was one of my most interesting subjects. He really believed in what he was doing, and was a joy to meet. Thanks Ignacio!

Adrian and Antoinette on the Q

(15/100 Strangers)

"I'm in an Indi band, and her? She's just cool." Adrian and Antoinette were all style, and super chill to talk to. I found them on the Q. If you can believe it, I didn't notice them, the guys with me did.

They're New York through and through, and have lived here all their lives. They're both in Brooklyn, although in all the excitement, their neighborhoods escape me. The two guys with me started talking to them about Comicon, and while Adrian has always wanted to go, it slips his mind every year.

He gave me his card for his music, which is pretty great. You can check him out at: <a href="http://creativityismyart.com/" rel="noreferrer nofollow">creativityismyart.com/</a>

I wish I had asked more about Antoinette, because she also seemed really cool. These two really made my night. Thanks, guys!

On a creative note, while I'm still pushing to get more shots per person (I tend to get between 5-8), I've been with other people more and more when finding strangers for the project, and it's always been to my benefit. They tend to join in on the conversation, and draw their attention away from the camera. I've already said I like getting people's mind into a conversation instead of posing for my camera, as well as the hand motions adding a real depth to the portrait. Having other people to help along the conversation really keeps things lose and makes the subject more comfortable, and thus, more natural.

I'm also pushing up my ISO, and getting my shutter speeds into the hundreds. Even here, on 1/125, I still lost a few shots to blurred hand motions. I normally keep it low, but I'd sacrifice lack of grain and depth to get in those hand motions.

Eric in Freeman Alley

(14/100 Strangers)

This is Eric, whom I found in Freeman Alley in the Lower East Side. He's worked in IT and resides in Lower Manhattan. When I found him, I was initially including him candidly in some of my shoots of Tanner's Alley, an awesome spot I stumbled upon. He told me about a great restaurant here, and then we proceeded to talk about the New iPhone. He told me that he has a camera, but his daughter takes it over when she's in town to visit. To grapple with the guilt of candid photography, she would slip a buck to some of the people she finds on the streets, even if they are sleeping.

I'm a bit behind on posting this shot, and was hesitant because most of the shots I got of Eric were in flat light, while this one was more interesting, but his face was a bit out of the plane of focus. I've been developing this bad habit of approaching people is very low light, which makes things extra challenging.

Tanner in Williamsburg

(13/100 Strangers)

Sometimes your subjects just scream out at you. The shot was pretty obvious, even from a distance, so I approached Tanner to get the real shot, which is the next picture. This one is just to give you the idea of how obvious it can be that you need to approach a stranger.

Emil on Wall St

(12/100 Strangers)

"This place feels like The Emirates," Emil commented as we both marveled at this public space in Downtown Manhattan. He was right of course, as I watched several tourists hesitate at the door before turning around and leaving.

Emil works in the financial sector. He's working his way up, and has been in the New York area his whole life.

I mentioned my technique of interviewing people as I photograph them, which caused them to relax and focus on the conversation. "I like to include the hand gestures as people talk," I said. Emil picked right up on this: (paraphrasing) "In my line of work, you can't seal the deal over the phone. My body language really helps get the sale. I'm always talking with my hands." He also related this to picking up women. "You can talk the talk, but they see the truth in your body language. If you're sending mixed signals, they're not having any of it."

I tried to capture some of Emil's gestures, but as you'll see in my exif, I was shooting at incredibally lower shutter speeds, and wide-open aperature. It was quite dark in here, but I wanted to include the atmosphere that brought about our conversation in the first place.

Emil was a confident guy that seems like he is going places. Thanks for the conversation, Emil.

*note: I paraphrased our conversations, since I didn't get to edit this set until 24 hours later.

Ozzie in Chinatown

(11/100 Strangers) This is Ozzie. He's from Croatia, but has been working in a restaurant in Coney Island. I met him on Pell Street while wandering through Chinatown, and he was cool about ne taking his picture. He first caught my attention because of his hat, and his body language further implied he was a cool person I should talk to.

I still had my telepoto on, which meant I had to stand a bit farther away, which made my normal interview style difficult. However, I'm still fairly happy with the results. Thanks for sharing a part of your day with a stranger, Ozzie!

??? in Chinatown

(10/100 Strangers)

I don't know her name. She didn't really speak much, and not in English. However, when I showed her the picture afterwards, her smile really lit up her face. I wish I could have take a picture of her in that moment, because it really warmed me in a way no one else has in this project. I was drawn to her by her coulorful shirt, and she didn't seem like someone completely unwilling from a distance. Just before this shot, an old chinese man strongly shot me down for a picture, which was my first rejection. So I got right back on the horse with this wonderful person! Because there was a language barrier, I wasn't able to get as much of a reaction out of her, or take her mind off posing for a picture, but think this will be the start of a good lesson in non-verbal communication.

I don't know your name, but thanks for sharing a wonderful moment with me!

Vishal in Midtown East

(227/365) & (009/100 Strangers)

This is Vishal. He's from Chapel Hill, NC, and I met him in Midtown East. I was having a crisis of creativity when he came up and started talking to me. I had Weezer playing super loud (my get over it music), so I almost didn't hear him. He saw me taking pictures on the street, and wanted to know what my angle was. He's visiting New York for 2 days, and has been watching other photographers to figure out how to get better. We spoke for about 10-15 minutes on technique, and then I brought up the 100 Strangers project.

As we started, I began to interview him, which is my method. I explained that people tend not to know what to do when being photographed, and related this to an episode of 30 Rock. In the episode, Jack is to be in a sketch on the show, and he gets in his head. He keeps getting stumped on what he should do with his hands, so he holds a coffee mug in each hand because it feels more natural. Interviewing people gives them something to focus on, and they stop worrying about the picture or the pose. They relax, and they often start to use their hands as we talk, which adds their personality to the shot. The times I have not been able to pull this off, I always feel the shots do not capture the people, and the photos are often forgettable.

I've included 3 pictures of him, because I feel they combine to paint a better picture of the interesting guy he is. I'm super grateful to him for stopping, as I was feeling uncreative and discouraged about shooting today. He came up almost as soon as I had forced myself to go out, almost as if the universe was intervening to keep me going. I also owe it to my friend Andrew, who I spent 10 minutes before this texting about my crisis. Thanks to you both, as well as Vishal's friend, who I wanna say was Simone. You guys were cool. Thanks for sharing your trip to NY with me!

100 Strangers - 008 - Natalia in Central Park

This is Natalia. She's from the Ukraine, visiting with her friends. I found here in Central Park, just outside Grand Army Plaza, where she was taking pictures of the skyline. She asked if I would take her picture here, and I had my first try at using what I can only assume was a Russian iPhone. Apparently her friends had gone to Canada for the day, so she was spending today alone, wandering Manhattan.

After taking here picture, which I regret was not cooperating with the poor light and all the back-lighting, I asked to take her picture, and hurriedly explained the 100 Strangers Project. I wasn't prepared to be social that evening, and rushed through the process, not really slowing down enough to get a great, thought-out shot. I normally interview my subjects while I take the pictures, but sensed she wasn't confortable staying around for too long, so I just snapped 3 and left. I just upgraded my camera, so I wasn't completely used to some of the new settings, which added to the confusion. At the very least, I got a better she of her with the buildings, even if they are a bit blown out. I now have my business cards, so I gave here one incase she wanted to see the picture. Having these, I think, really makes me feel that the people I interact with feel I take this seriously. I have to work on selling it better, but I think I'm moving in the right direction.

100 Strangers - 007 - Jon on 3rd Ave

This is John. Or Jon. I was walking through the rain, taking pictures, when I saw him standing here, just like this. Instead of trying to take the shot candid, I decided to approach him. I explained that he was awesomely lit, asked to take his picture and he agreed. He even asked if he should look away from the camera. I told him to keep doing what he was before I interrupted him.

It was such a dark night, and seeing him by the sign, hiding from the rain was just too perfect. I didn't get a chance to talk to him. He seemed busy, and I didn't want to take up his time, but I did get permission to post this to the group.

After a few shots, and playing with my settings, I was done, and we parted ways.

I have a few more strangers I have not included, but John really makes about 10 now. He is my first "candid", not simply looking into the camera. I also generally interview my subjects as I take their picture. Having the opportunity to just focus on my shot without keeping my subject's attention gives me more time to focus on my shot, the settings, and what I'm trying to achieve. I knew the shot already, although I'm now regretting not trying a few more tightly framed shots. It was low light, and I really was just trying to make sure the shot came out *at all.*

Thanks Jon. 

100 Strangers - 006 - Jessica and Peter in Chinatown

Jessica was holding this sign, sitting on a random street when I found her. After making sure it wasn't anything weird, she seemed friendly, and I decided to talk to her. Instead of jumping right into things, I talked about her project for a bit. She'd been talking to people for the last hour, asking what they would do if Money and Time were not an issue. My response was, of course, photography. She told me that the responses were not what she would have expected. She was working with Peter, a form Wall Street guy, who was now a property manager, and planning for retirement.

Jessica is attending Syracuse University, planning to go into Education. She has two years left in her degree.

I really enjoyed talking to them as well, focusing more on Jessica than Peter. Jessica had a great smile, and we very friendly. I struggled here because of both the poor lighting and the reflectiveness of her sign. I also had my shutter speed down to 1/60th, which meant a lot of great shots that got blurred. I initially told her she didn't have to smile, but it ended up coming out nice on camera, and not detrimental to the photo.

Thanks guys, you ended my day on such a great note, and I ended heading home with a bounce in my step from the warm interaction!

100 Strangers - 005 - Enzon in Chinatown

Enzon was sitting on some steps on a side street a few blocks north of Canal when I met him. He's another cool guy, currently in school for music. He's spent his life in New York, and is considering switching to Computer Graphs for Film. We spoke a bit about art and the industry. He was a nice guy, and while not as outgoing as Stephen, I genuinely enjoyed our interaction. Thanks Enzon! (like the Ferrari, with an n on the end)

This is almost out of camera, although the axis was straightened, and I brought the exposure up a bit. At this point, the light was getting worse, and I struggled a bit with the highlights on his hands blowing out. Over all, a smooth shot.


This picture is #5 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the <a href="http://www.flickr.com/groups/100strangers/">100 Strangers Flickr Group page</a>

100 Strangers - 004 - Stephen in SoHo

Stephen was the smoothest, most outgoing person I talked to today. He works part time in the store behind him, and is a composer of what I remember him loosely calling "new music." He's bee playing the piano since he was a kid (I think he said since he was 12). I made a remark that I took piano lessons in exchange for a Nintendo. With him, it was the other way around! We spoke a bit about my photography, and how hard it is being a nerd and approaching strangers. He said he grew up a nerd, and could relate. I certainly couldn't tell. He was a generally awesome dude. I asked him to email me links to some of his music. If he allows me, I'll link to it once he sends it along.

One a composition note, a fe things to note: Stephen made me comfortable to talk to. As a result, I finally started calming down during the process, and noticed he uses his hands when he talks. I tried to capture this, but my shutter speed was too low. You should see some of the great shots I got of him that contain a blurry hand. If I was fully alert, I would have lowered the f-stop, or raised the ISO, so I could bring the shutter speed up. I'm going to say this many times, but the hardest part of the strangers project is that I stop paying attention to my camera. I refuse to use the automatic setting, although it's not bad advice for others starting this project. While I could have focused more on shooting, and less on talking through this entire process, I'm definitely noticing that talking through the process helps liven people up, and keep them from fake smiles or awkward body language. Finally, this was daylight, but we were in shadows. I had to bring the exposure up, but was already getting ghosting from the track lighting in the background reflecting in his shirt, which I had to clone out. Not something I've run into during the daytime before.


This picture is #4 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the <a href="http://www.flickr.com/groups/100strangers/">100 Strangers Flickr Group page</a>

Raymond in NoHo

Raymond was a bit odd, but also my favourite character for the day! He was a genuine, friendly fellow, and I found him peering in this window, which he promptly returned to doing after we parted.

He has lived in Manhattan for the last two years, and Brooklyn before that. He said he loves the diversity of the city, and it's possible he knows everyone in Washington Square Park.

He was very approachable, and the most unique person I photographed today. Thanks Raymond!


This picture is #3 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the <a href="http://www.flickr.com/groups/100strangers/">100 Strangers Flickr Group page</a>

Eddie in Washington Square Park

My first stranger of the day, and certainly the most difficult, Eddie seemed a bit skeptical of me, especially when I mentioned that I normally do candids, but he still agreed to let me take his picture. He teaches chess in an after school program for grade school (I believe elementary). When I met him, he was the only person at the chess tables not playing an opponent. Instead, he was reading up on chess.

I have taken to interviewing my subjects as I photograph them, and instantly discovered that I forget to actually take the photos. I only took 2 of him, and hand trouble with the framing, as my cropped body really limits the 50mm lens I used today. I now understand the need for a full-frame camera.

While Eddie didn't leave me bathed in warmth, I'm greatful for his cooperation, which got me over the hurdle of the first stranger of the day. He was also the first person I felt intimidated to photograph. While I'm not happy with the shot, I am happy with the accomplishment.


This picture is #2 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the <a href="http://www.flickr.com/groups/100strangers/">100 Strangers Flickr Group page</a>

100 Strangers -- 001 - Atsoshi 

This is Atsoshi. He is from Tokyo, but has been living in New York for 3 Years. I found him in Tudor City, admiring the background seen here, after a rain. I saw him, and broke the ice sharing this moment of beauty. A fellow photographer has been after me to start is project for a while, and the past two days I have been trying to get up the nerve to start it. I have intereacted with a lot of strangers, even asked their permission and taken their picture, but never approached them with the intention to ask to take their picture.

I saw another woman early on in my walk, while it was still raining, but couldn't react in time. I circled around to return to the fruit stand where she was waiting, but she was gone.

I practice a lot of candid photography, and consider myself pretty good, but I know this photo sucks. The framing is all wrong, and I still had my shutter speed too low. However, I am focusing first on conquering my fear of asking strangers for their picture.

While I took this shot, I was interviewing him, asking him about Tokyo vs New York, trying to keep him calm (he was friendly) and avoid the weird silence while I work. I'm pretty good with people once I've broken the ice, but asking a complete stranger for something is hard.

If you compare this shot to my other work, you'll also see that when you're freaking out about taking a shot of a stranger (while they interact), you stumble through the moment without paying attention to your shot. Only 1 way to get better: keep practicing.

I'm very excited and terrified of this project, but I feel it's a stigma I need to conquer.


This picture is #1 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the <a href="http://www.flickr.com/groups/100strangers/">100 Strangers Flickr Group page</a>

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