Saturday, June 1, 2013

Strangers in the City

I've started a new personal project that I'm tentatively calling Strangers in the City, in which I am approaching random people I encounter and asking them to sit for a portrait. The intent of this project is multi-fold. I want to break out of a personal comfort zone, while also breaking down isolating barriers that society has taught us throughout our lives about not talking to strangers. It can be strangely lonely in a city of a million plus. There is a huge void of intimacy and community as we all go about our daily lives - ignoring the people around us in favour of our smart phones. And out of 'politeness', we stare at our shoelaces rather than look at each other and perhaps establish some form of connection. Hopefully the people I meet as part of this project will feel more engaged and connected to this city, and maybe they will adopt a less distant demeanour towards the people around them as well.

Strangers in the City - Gabriela
This is Gabriela, a lovely lady originally from Mexico, but now a Calgarian. She liked that I was photographing strangers and building community. Photo taken inside Clive Burger on 17th Ave.

Strangers in the City-2
Say hello to Kate and Kelsey, who caught my attention when I saw them staring at my camera. Turns out one of their moms (or maybe both) is a photographer as well. Another interesting connection between us - they work at the Drop-In Centre, which I volunteered at for a year way back in the day. Photo taken at the streetside patio of Melrose on 17th Ave.

Strangers in the City-3
These three didn't want their real names used, but asked to be referred to by the faux gangsta names of Niqq, Kpop, and One-chain. Photo taken outside Reid's on 17th Ave.

Strangers in the City-4

Strangers in the City-5
I asked this gal if I could photograph her backpack cause I love the look of these Herschel Supply Co. bags. I wish I had also taken a portrait of her as well. Much regret!

Strangers in the City-6
This is Josh, a nice dude who was waiting for the bus on 4th street. I love the Pabst cap. Very rad!

In total, I approached 11 people today, and only had one person politely decline. Unfortunately, a photo of Drew and Darren (two Calgary firefighters) was ruined because I completely underexposed the shot, and got a big black frame. And one shot of Kristal is at the start of my next roll, which has yet to be developed. All photos taken with a Pentax 6x7, Takumar 105mm f/2.4, on Fuji Neopan 400. Developed at home in Ilfosol 3 diluted 1:9.


  1. those shots of those kids totally put a smile on my face. Awesome!

  2. Those kids were pretty awesome. I told them to ham it up for me, and they totally did.