Playfulness (#934) 05-20-17

One of the joys of street portraiture is playfulness. Meeting people does not have to be a solemn affair. The world can be full of joy and photography can bring out some of the child in all of us. I was photographing three policemen when Marjon jumped in and photobombed a shot. She ran off into the market crowd. 

A few minutes later I spotted her and asked for a portrait. Of course she obliged.

 

Is this not an impish look? Meeting strangers is usually fun.

Bob

Keep it With You (#933) 05-16-17

I recently had to head to the city of Lakewood Ranch, FL, near Sarasota. An appointment with a title insurance officer (real exciting!) left me a few minutes for lunch at a nearby eatery. I hesitated, but then brought the camera to the restaurant.

The waiter, Jeff, took an immediate interest in my camera, an Olympus OM-D E-M5. The retro look often raises questions by passersby who conjecture that it is a film camera. It is a great ice-breaker, and often leads to a portrait. And so it was with Jeff. When indoors, I sneak the ISO to 800 and accept that light quantity should be OK, although quality is so-so.

 

The next stop was the title insurance office and the camera stayed with me. After business, Cathy rather reluctantly allowed a photo. Again, indoor light is what it is, not beautiful.

 

I was glad that I kept the camera with me.

Bob

No Guts, No Glory (#932)

I began street portraiture as a hobby because of my lack of guts. I am an introvert, and the last thing that I am prone to do is introduce myself to a stranger. The camera becomes a prop, a tool that helps me "break the ice". It is relatively easy to approach a stranger and ask for a favor, for help in pursuing my hobby of taking photos of strangers. For me, it has been trans-formative. After several years of this unusual hobby, I have "loosened up" considerably. The surrounding world looks more friendly.

Carl was sitting on a curb adjacent to a subway entrance in New York City. At first I walked by, but took a deep breath and turned around to meet him. Carl is a soft spoken Muslim from New Jersey. Fortunately he has experienced little anti-Muslim sentiment and is totally comfortable in the U.S.A.

I could have kept on walking by. No guts, no glory.

Bob

World Travellers (#941)

While visiting New Your City, a friend suggested that I visit High Line park. It's an elevated 1.43 mile walk that used to be a railway. you can read about it HERE. I saw lots of interesting characters, but the light was harsh. a covered entryway provided the perfect light and Sam and Corrine approached.

 

Their Australian accent was lovely. Sam and Corrine were on an extensive trip from their native Perth. New Your was the final destination, with the penultimate destination being Cuba. What a life!

Bob

Perry (#940) 05-02-17

Perry is an icon at the Sarasota Farmer's Market. Sitting in front of his huge barbecue/smoker, he chews on his stogie and waves to passersby. When I asked for a portrait, he was more than eager to comply. I suspect that he does this a few times every Saturday morning.

 

This capture exploits the beauty of a digital viewfinder, in my opinion. While looking through the viewfinder of my Olympus OM-D E-M5, I did not see the direct optical view of Perry, but the digital representation that the sensor sees. It was obvious that Perry's face was underexposed due to the bright background, I did not have to wait to chimp a captured image. Seeing the underexposed face I simply used my right index finger to adjust the exposure compensation wheel to 1+ compensation. Immediately the exposure looked correct in the viewfinder and I captured the image.

Bob

Sam (#939) 04-28-17

Well, almost a year and a half since I have posted. After a prolonged personal tragedy I was not sure that I would blog again. Slowly I am getting back to photographing strangers, always with permission, but with less personal interaction. my goal is to post entries 2 to 3 times per week. Thanks for being here.

 

I saw Sam walking into a cut rate liquor store. I could not resist, so I waited outside for about 5 minutes to meet him. He was happy to be photographed and proud to be born and raised in Sarasota. Bob  

I saw Sam walking into a cut rate liquor store. I could not resist, so I waited outside for about 5 minutes to meet him. He was happy to be photographed and proud to be born and raised in Sarasota.

Bob

 

Diego (#938) 11-28-15

When I saw the dreadlocks and the body language, I thought, “This must be an artist.” The light was way too contrasty, so I followed at a distance. Finally I crossed the street, circled around, and 'happened' to meet him in the spot of my choice. Diego seemed curious, and was happy to be photographed.

Diego is from Spain and is in his senior year at the Ringling School of Art and Design. I was right!

“What kind of art do you make?”

“Painting, video, photography.., art is art.”

When I wanted to move him a bit, he said, “You are the artist, do what you want.” He really liked my photostream. After graduation, Diego will return to Spain.

“What will you do?”

'Live life. Who knows what will come.”

Nice to be able to have that attitude. Attending a school costing north of $50,000\year, he probably has the resources to take life as it comes.

Thank you, Diego, for allowing me to photograph you for my ongoing portrait project.

Bob

Iris (#937) 11-08-15

Iris was reading on an outdoor bench in Winter Park, FL. As I was asking my usual favor, it was obvious from body language that she was willing to be a part of my portrait project.

“Are you from Winter park?”

“Oh no. I live in Castleberry (2 miles away).”

Originally from Reading, PA, Iris maintains a slight Spanish accent; her father was from Puerto Rico. She is a realtor, but primarily a buyer's broker. Iris obtains few listings. She spends a lot of time with prospective buyers, showing other people's listings all over the Orlando area. The market has improved, but certain frustrations continue. She has clients who make an offer on a $200,000 house, but the deal falls through over $3,000. such a tiny percentage!

Of all the pics on the LCD, she preferred the slightly sultry look.

Thank you, Iris, for allowing me to photograph you for my ongoing portrait project.

Bob

John (#936) 11-06-15

A candy and ice cream store sat on a street corner in Winter Park, FL. John was seated immediately outside, enjoying a smoke. “They let me stay here because the owner smokes too.”

About a year ago he allowed an artist to paint his portrait at this very spot. Several months later, a man said that he had bought the painting at the Winter Park Art Festival. It had won first place in some category.

John said, “I hope you didn't pay too much for it.”

“Enough.”

He said that he could not see his picture on the camera's LCD because of severe cataracts. His eyes looked clear to me, no cataracts. But I saw him walking a few minutes later and John was clearly sight impaired. Maybe macular degeneration.

Thank you, John, for allowing me to photograph you for my ongoing portrait project.

Bob

Bianca (#935) 10-27-15

As I paid for an image to be framed, Bianca looked for a bag large enough. I said, "Gee, Michael's has lots of large bags." (for those out of the U.S., Michael's is chain store offering cut-rate framing and matting). Bianca put her hands on the counter and gave me a withering look.

"Michael's: where art goes to die."

That was definitely my best quote of the week.

Bob

Joe (#933) 10-20-15

When walking past Starbuck's (no coffee this time!), Joe was enjoying his cup of, well, Joe. When I explained the project, he had no reservations.

Joe is an engineer working for the army – as a civilian. He has degrees in industrial and mechanical engineering, but now writes software. That seems to be the common pinnacle for so many careers. Well educated, he has degrees from the University of Central Florida, and Texas A & M. Plus he has studied at FSU, the arch enemy of Florida Gators like me.

“What is the best thing that has happened to you today?”

Sitting here with this cup of coffee.” (It was about 3PM.)

“Gee, you've had a pretty dull day.”

“I spent all morning mowing the grass and cleaning the house. A few minutes alone with a good cup of coffee is definitely the high point.”

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best.

Thank you, Joe, for allowing me to photograph you for my ongoing portrait project.

Bob



Oksana (#932) 10-20-15

She was working in a clothing store in Winter Park, FL. Looking so photogenic, I immediately made contact, and she was game, although a little shy.

"Are you from Winter park?"

"Oh no. I am from Longwood."  (6 miles away)

When I heard her name, she assured me that she was not Russian. I mentioned Olympic figure skating champion Oksana Baiul. "Yep, that's who I'm named after."


Bob

Herbert (#931) 19-10-15

I recently visited Winter Park, FL. I was about to check out of the hotel, but decided to walk a block to their Saturday morning Farmer's Market. Things were packed, so I neglected to carry the camera. Stooopid!

A small produce stand was situated in decent light, and the proprietor had such a relaxed countenance that he exuded peace and serenity. Now I had to return to the hotel double-time to correct my mistake. When I returned, he was speaking with two ladies. I waited my turn, but it became obvious that Herbert was at the market to socialize as much as sell produce. When I introduced myself, his calm demeanor was a balm, and I understood why people stop by to talk.

Herbert has had that location in the market for 32 years. I pointed to the mustache and said, “I'll bet that has changed a bit.” “Oh yes sir, My appearance has changed a lot over 32 years.” An African American lady walked in, and on a hunch I asked if he had ever seen her before. “Oh yeah, we've been married for 61 years.”

Sixty one gracious years, I believe.

Thank you, Herbert, for allowing me to photograph you for my ongoing portrait project.

Bob

Jim (#930) 10-12-15

On my way to the coffee shop, I found an angle parking spot half a block away. A car pulled in to the next spot simultaneously. As we both got out our eyes met and I saw the glorious mustache. Following a few steps behind, he obliged me by stepping into the coffee shop; all I had to do was follow. While on line, I introduced myself and made “the ask.” Jim was surprised, but totally cooperative and friendly.

Jim is originally from Syracuse, NY. He worked for Chrysler Corp., manufacturing drive trains and trans axles for Chrysler, Ford, GM, BMW and others. I had no idea that the other companies bought drive trains from Chrysler. Jim and his wife began Vacationing on nearby Siesta key in 1986. Nine years ago he retired and made the full time move.

We spoke while still indoors. I asked him to step into the doorway while I held it open. The geometry wasn't exactly as I preferred. I wound up outside, holding the door open with my foot, while Jim was a few steps inside. Sometimes you just have to work with what you get.

Thank you, Jim, for allowing me to photograph you for my ongoing portrait project.

Bob

Dayle and Kristen (#929) 10-06-15

After parking in a high rise lot, I descended the stairs to a plaza that included Buddy Brew Coffee. But I didn't even get there. Dayle was sitting on a couch right in front of my favorite charcoal grey wall. Perfect spot. Having not approached a stranger for a few weeks, I felt awkward.

When I explained the project, she immediately agreed, but was curious about my intent. The Photostream on the phone helped. And I explained that it was more about getting out of my comfort zone than photography.

Dayle is from Nassau County, New York. She had been back twice in recent weekends and remembers shoveling snow vividly. She is now a realtor on nearby Longboat Key. Dayle did not particularly like my first images, so I let her pose herself however she wanted. I don't think that the two looks are all that different.

As we spoke, her friend Kirsten walked up. She expressed no reservations about being photographed, and changed places with Dayle. Like Dayle, she did not like the first pics, so I let her pose herself too. They took cards and asked for a digital copy of the images.

Thank you, Dayle and Kristen, for allowing me to photograph you for my ongoing portrait project.

Bob



James (#928) 09-26-15

On a rainy day, I entered my favorite coffee shop. Several tables on the sidewalk are covered by umbrellas, but I chose to sit inside. Until James came in. He had a backpack and seemed out of place, and uncomfortable. After placing his order, he found a table outside fairly protected from rain. So I went out to meet him with a plastic bag for the camera, if necessary.

James is originally from Birmingham, AL, but now lives near Destin, in the Florida Panhandle. He is an architect working for the St. Joe Company. For many decades it was the St. Joe Paper Company. It owned a zillion acres of forest that it harvested for paper. Now it is a real estate development firm. James says that the goal is to eventually build 170,000 houses in five communities.

I commented that this sounded like the nearby Lakewood Ranch. A planned community popped out of nowhere and now is a center for retail activity. “Lakewood Ranch isn't my favorite. There is too much control, it's not authentic.” He used to live in Sarasota and watched Lakewood Ranch being developed first hand.

He approved of the images, especially the contemplative look. But he did not want a copy.

Thank you, James, for allowing me to photograph you for my ongoing portrait project.

Bob



Max (#927) 09-07-15

I have been "off the streets" for a while, for personal reasons. The time has arrived to become productive again.

During this sabbatical, I have photographed a few baristas and waitpersons, while obtaining little personal information. Max works at a restaurant that I visit fairly frequently. Although there is a large staff, max always seems to get stuck with me.

Bob

Gunner and Jan (#926) 08-12-15

As I passed a restaurant on Main St., Gunner and Jan were on a bench in front of a restaurant. His expression caught my eye. I had never photographed in this spot, but the light looked acceptable, and Gunner's face was more than acceptable. So I made the ask. The response was positive, but lukewarm. Jan was into it more than Gunner.

He said that his portrait would break my lens, I've heard that before. He moved here from Mass., but would not say where he was born. Jan tried to egg him on, but Gunner was not talkative. After I got the shot, Jan agreed, but would only give me a camera smile. They both live in the same apartment building.

In the past, I would not have posted these images. I wrote the entries for the 100 Strangers Flickr group, which requires more story (in my opinion), than Gunner and Jan. But that all changed about a month ago.

I got a surprise notice from the group moderators. I had about 670 entries, another fellow had nearly 800 and a woman from Finland had a staggering 1,200. The moderators felt that we were posting too much and not developing as photographers, and that is the mission of the group. So I have been politely barred from posting in that group. At first I was surprised and disappointed. But in a way this is liberating. I feel free to photograph anyone I want and give as little or as much as the case warrants.

Thank you, Gunner and Jan, for allowing me to photograph you for my ongoing portrait project.

Bob

Hayley (#925) 08-10-15

At noon on a Sunday, I parked in a high rise garage, crossed the street and headed to Giuseppe's Ristorante. I had photographed Giuseppe a few years ago. https://www.flickr.com/photos/bobdeinphoto/8083805112/in/album-72157627425474507/

Alas, it was closed for lunch on Sundays. Drat! So I headed back toward the garage and passed “Old School Bar and Grill, a Music Joint.” It looked a little rough, but how rough could a place be at noon on a Sunday? So I went in to the dark, noisy establishment and had a decent taco salad. More importantly, I met Hayley.

She was my waitress, and as soon as I saw her I mentally kicked myself in the rear end for not carrying the camera. But it was in the trunk of the car, 90 seconds away. When I finished and Hayley asked if there were anything else I wanted, I said “Yes”, and explained how I wanted to meet her and make a portrait. I showed her my photostream on the phone and she was quite impressed with the lighting. A mature observation. So I settled up, got the camera, and was back for action. The open doorway into Old School was a good spot.

Hayley was born in Virginia and came to Sarasota at age 11. She went to Bradenton Prep, a now defunct high school. The job at Old School has good hours for Hayley, but this is not a career. She works nights during the week so that she can be home during the day while her husband works. They share duties taking care of their 'very active' 16 month old son. On weekends, the boys have 'guy time' while she works during the day. Hayley plans to be a stay-at-home mom when their second is born (no, she's not pregnant yet).

Thank you, Hayley, for allowing me to photograph you for my ongoing portrait project.

Bob