‘You should precipitate a live encounter with a stranger and make a series of images with
that subject. During this process you should both depict the subject in the environment and 
at some point venture into the subjectʼs personal space, you should do this and come
away with at least one personal story from them.
Do the exercise once without showing the subject the images, then share the work with
them and make another set. Consider how this effects the power-relationship.’

For this task, I tried to place myself in a comfort zone that I felt self approaching a stranger in. So I attended a University Society. During the society I approached a member and asked if they would be willing to have there photograph taken and explained basic necessities of the task.

They agreed which was a huge relief, but I couldn’t help but constantly reassure them that they were under no obligation to participate and they could back out at any point.

We went into the hallway as it was deserted at the time, and I began talking to them while taking photographs, slowly getting closer into their personal space and enquiring about stories that they wouldn’t normally tell a stranger that was personal.

The first group of photographs were taken without showing her the photos.

1 2 3 4 5

While the second set was.

6 7 8 9 10 12

My final, and favourite image is this one.

11

After I showed her the photos she expressed that she preferred side profile images, and not looking directly at the camera, so we went with that for the second take.

Her personal story was something that resonated with me because she also explained why she wouldn’t even normally talk about it with friends, let alone a stranger.
When she was about 15, the dog who had been with her, her whole life, had to be put down. Her parents told her the day before, and said she could come with them to the vet the next day. She spent that evening with her pet. When she woke up, she found that her parents had already taken her dog to be put down, without her. It was heartbreaking.
She doesn’t usually tell people the story because she has had friends in the past act confused as why she was so upset, saying ‘it was just a dog’ and making her feel quite silly for being so affected by the whole situation.

I think this vulnerability shows through, in the photographs, and the more into her personal space I got, the more intimate and tender the moment I was capturing appeared.

I think showing her the photographs and getting her opinion, and creating a dialogue about something personal to her, made the photographs with a stranger appear more intimate and less forced.

 

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