Photographing Strangers: NOW Portrait

?These people are all strangers to me. I have never met them before and most likely won’t again.

No, I don’t usually just go up to randoms in the street and photograph them but this is all part of an exciting new project call NOW Portrait set up by my friend and fellow photographer Lucy Williams. It’s all about making connections through photography and this was my first contribution to it (more to come, I’m now addicted). It’s such a simple little thing but it really shifts your perspective - of people, of photography, of the world even. It makes you realise that all those people, rushing about, with places to go and stony faces - all you need to do it stop them for a second and they are more than likely rather nice. I was terrified people might refuse to be photographed or just walk away but people were delighted to be asked, somehow the camera gave me a little ticket into their world, just for a few minutes. They were open and warm and often gave them a little bit of their story. I decided to start the project on the day I was to travel to Halifax for another shoot and so it begins at Paddington Station. Thanks so much to Janet, Sam, Lydia, James & Pam. Here they are.

All photographs are film. Kodak Portra. Contax 645.

Janet was the 1st person I photographed for the project and I met her at Paddington Station, I noticed her because of her wonderful bright red jacket. She was watching everyone go by and told me she liked to look at what people were wearing and that it was a such shame everyone dressed in such drab colours. Janet was waiting to meet a friend who was about to become a grandmother for the first time. Since Janet was already one several times over (she's 81 you know!) she was going to give some advice on the matter. She was such a lovely bright eyed lady.

This is Sam. I met him along the lovely Halifax arm of the canal towpath on the Hebble Trail, having a cheeky smoke. Anyone who can smoke and ride a bike at the same time has my respect. We didn't chat much but before we parted he shook my hand and said thank you.

I met Lydia whilst working on a project for the fantastic Orangebox Youth Centre in central Halifax (the reason for trip up North more of that later). She is 17 and works there as an intern but is hoping she'll be made a permanent member of staff once her internship ends. She gave me a tour of the place and this shot was taken in the skatepark on the building's roof. She was a delight.

This is Pam she was on her way home to Todmordon. She works for local government in Halifax. I had duffel coat envy.

James was running for a train and yes, I was that annoying person to delay him and ask him something. He was kind enough to stop, pose and then run off again, off to catch a train to Manchester where he studies. Hope he didn't miss it.

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Comment by: Katy at Apartment Apothecary Posted: 09/04/2014

Wonderful NOWportraits Katharine. I really love your connection with people and the insightful stories you tell of them and I’m so excited that you’re inspired to shoot more - can’t wait to see!  And Janet being 81, surely not!?! What a lovely sparkly eyed lady, I can imagine her having THE BEST advice for new grandmas.  Have you sent your photos over to them and what have been their responses?

Comment by: Lucy Williams Posted: 09/04/2014

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