Emily Laurel, Milk & Roses

Approaching strangers to create a portrait is something that I'm often asked about mainly because I believe people assume there's this this big secret about the approach but in all honestly the biggest challenge is not dependent so much on the asking but more on learning how to cope with rejection.

Sometimes people may initially decline your proposition which has happened several times but the majority of the instances I've been successful has been when the idea of wanting to take a portrait has not been the primary driver to approach a stranger in the first place. It's through conversation and having a genuine interest for the other person is where they have been able to know me a little better and assess my intentions.

In this particular situation, my good friend Tina and I found ourselves in this astoundingly beautiful coffeehouse Milk & Roses located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The walls are lined with vintage hardcover books, dried flowers in tiny vases, wine bottles and there's also a black classic piano at the corner of the room which is utilized when the place transforms into a winebar by night. Emily was waiting on us that morning and as we stood in the vicinity of the kitchen taking turns to use the restroom, I couldn't resist peeking through a small window that supplied us with a glimpse of the kitchen.

Emily was in the midst of preparing our cappuccinos and as she stood next to the maker diligently crafting our beverage there was an absolutely beautiful shaft of light radiating on her at which point I pointed out how charming and attractive it looked and the end result was this portrait. I took an identical portrait with my iPhone that I published on my Instagram stream.