Here’s the first installation of the series of portraits, (which I’m calling for now) The Faces of Worcester. They’re shot with my Canon 50mm 1.8f lens on overcast days. I make a conscious effort to not photograph anyone I think might be a student. I ask just about everyone I pass. If they seem upset, busy, or entirely unwelcoming I don’t bother. Otherwise, I simply ask them if I may take their portrait.
Most people were fine with the idea, and it didn’t take me long to rack up over two dozen shots. The ones that decline, I wish a good day to. Usually even if they didn’t want their picture taken, they would inquire about why I was doing it, which I thought was funny.
Two things I learned today: women are way too self-conscious and Clarkies can be stuck up.
Most of the women I approached (or at least a larger percentage of them than of men) declined. I asked an older woman wearing a magenta suit jacket covered in gold broaches; she said she was too old and just waiting for the bus. She then asked my reason. I told her that I find people fascinating. She restated her previous comment, and I replied “Everyone is beautiful.” Another woman who looked Afro-Caribbean had a similar response and said that her hair was a mess. She said she would next time.
Another younger woman I asked completely ignored me, which only happened that one time. I watched her for a moment and then saw her walk onto campus.
Something else I’m learning: this project is making me less guarded. I feel like since I’ve been living in Worcester, a larger more urban area, I’ve been harboring this wall of sorts. It’s a feeling I think I should have being in this environment. Oh, don’t make eye contact unless you want to engage someone. Don’t engage anyone. This is helping me to realize how unhealthy that is. Most people are awesome.
I want to add more about my encounter with each person, but I already feel like I could write a book’s worth about each one of them. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with this series and also how I want to connect them. By emotion? How should I crop them? Sometimes someone’s outfit adds a lot to their presence; sometimes their face is the focus. Any input is appreciated!