On a recent self-assignment, I went out to photograph 25 strangers. The 25 images had to be of people whom I did not know and they all had to be centered around a particular them, and one that could potentially be uncomfortable for them. Having worked in office job for several years and hating it (hence, why I went back to school school to learn how to do something that I love, and to figure out a way to make a career out of it), I decided to shoot people either at work or on their way to work. The catch is that I wanted to portray them with their mind on something other than work. To do this, I went out and bought a bunch of different props, most of them children's toys, and asked my strangers to pose with them.
This was a very interesting look into different personalities. Some people wouldn't give me the time of day. Some laughed and continued to walk on. Most people I approached said "No". Most people that said "No" had the excuse, "I'm late". I only had one person who couldn't think of an excuse and just mumbled "Sorry, I've gotta... I'm... a... I need to....go..." and then gave up, turned, and resumed his head-down stride down the sidewalk. I also learned an interesting fact: everyone in a suit in Santa Barbara is late for something.
Of the people that said "Yes" some were reluctant, yet some really were happy to help me out and actually got into the whole concept and had fun with it. It's not fun getting turned down every couple of minutes, but the times that people said "Yes", especially when they really got into it... that made it worth it.
Here are a few of my favorites from the shoot (more on the experience below).