Not sure if it’s true for most photographers who dedicate some of their time to shooting on the streets but what I find fascinating about the process is that I can still vividly recall each encounter I’ve had with strangers who I’ve spotted from afar and have walked up to and requested a moment of their time. Regardless of whether the portrait was taken yesterday, a week ago or even a year. It’s an occurrence who’s plot rarely goes away because you know how much you had to work to make it happen.
Is the whole street portrait game daunting? Absolutely. Is it a practice that everyone who shoots street photography should do? It depends. Certainly not if the fear of approaching someone scares you so much that it will dissuade you from even wanting to photograph anything else on the streets period. The reason I do it is the same reason that someone who’s bench pressing gradually adds weight to the bar. Because it challenges and exams their potential for how much they can grow not only physically but mentally. Performing the same routines over and over is rarely advisable because you’ll eventually reach a plateau where you’ll feel that what you’re currently doing is all you’ll ever be able to accomplish.
On top of all that, New York is such a melting pot of different cultures that it would be a shame not to consider the other facets that make up every neighborhood which is really the people. Asking people for a moment of their time sounds more effortless on paper than in does in person but I’ve amazed myself how fearless one becomes once you’ve done it once on any given outing.
On this particular occasion, I had spotted Henry resting before going on to make a food delivery from a local Mexican restaurant on Knickerbocker Ave in Bushwick. I didn’t even ask permission for a portrait. I merely raised my camera in front of my face so as to indicate my intentions and he just stood still in silence which I took as a sign of approval.