Featured Photo

Photo courtesy of
‘Stranger 100 – Jacob’
courtesy of ‘jim_darling’

Taking portraits isn’t easy. Taking portraits of strangers is even more difficult. Doing that one hundred times seems like a Sisyphean task: finding just the right subject; working up the courage; approaching them; getting rejected; trying with another; getting them comfortable; taking the shot, then another. Endless and repetitive. Many people start projects like the 100 Strangers to try and get some inspiration. Some do it without much thought, as if the mere act of getting the shot is enough to make them good. Some become bored and abandon their projects midway. But a few think (and over think) their project, and they learn from it as they go. The latter is exactly why I’m featuring Jim Darling‘s 100th stranger.

It’s not about the shot itself, which is a good portrait. It’s about the journey and the entire work taken as a whole. If you’ve got some time, go and take a look at the slideshow of all 100 portraits. You can see Jim’s style evolve as he wandered DC and other locales to get the next stranger.

“At #22 I discovered that this project could really be something,” Jim wrote. “And by #44 I was finding that I really cared about the art of the portrait. Granted they weren’t all winners, and sometimes when I thought a location or event would garner something inspiring, it just didn’t quite make it.”

As he shot these strangers’ portraits, Jim also got to be a part of their lives. Sometimes, only for those few minutes that it takes to get the shot, but sometimes he’s become friends with his strangers. Maybe tonight, on your way home or at the bar, you might consider having a brief conversation with a stranger. You never know where it will lead.

Born in Lebanon, Samer moved to DC to go to college. A lot of good that did him. Twenty-two years later, he still lives in the area. When he’s not writing for a blog or tweeting incessantly, he wanders the streets (and the globe) photographing whatever gets in his way.

6 thoughts on “Featured Photo

  1. I didn’t know we had any hipsters in DC. I wonder if he’s listening to Animal Collective or Girl Talk…

  2. Awesome article, not only because the project is great, but also because as an amateur photog I’ve always wondered how others go about getting such great portraits. Very helpful!

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  4. @Kirk — The guy was actually in NY, but since so many of the 100 Strangers were in DC, I felt it still made a good Featured Photo.