bay area portrait photographer

52 week challenge – photographing strangers

Portrait of a stranger 52 week challenge with Ewa Samples Photography

I went pretty easy on myself this past week. Well, it didn’t feel like it was any easier than the past week, anyway. My first stranger, Rockie, was literally a stranger. I’ve never met her before. I’ve never seen her face before anywhere.

This week’s stranger(s) are my neighbors, really. But we were never introduce. We passed by each other almost every day, waving our heads “hi”, or saying “good morning” on the way to take our kids to school.

This 52 week challenge makes me think about relationships we have with people. Or is it me? I’m shy and nervous when it comes to approaching people I don’t know, but WHAT AM I SO AFRAID OFF, really?

Thanks to this project I can finally put a name to those two faces I see almost every day. It’s not a lot but at the same time, it is. Right?

How many people in your life have nameless faces? Because, being honest with you, my life is filled with them. Mom’s from my daughter’s school. Neighbors. People in a library (where I spend about 10 hours a week). It’s crazy. I just smile to them, and get back to my phone or computer, instead of asking about how they are doing…

It’s only funny how I approach this project. While during my regular sessions I can’t stop taking pictures of people. With this project I shoot once and run. When I’m on my computer looking at the photo(!), I regret not taking more pictures. I just don’t have the guts to stay there for any longer that’s required to take one picture.

I hope, the further I go with this project the more pictures I’ll be able to take of people.

In this photo:

” Michael and Junior”

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My partners in crime in this 52 week challenge are:

Ania Gajda from Ania Gajda Photography

Maryam Salassi from Hi and Hello Photography – Maryam is doing different 52, feel free to follow her journey.

Hailey Williams from Archer Inspired

Feel free to follow along!!!

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Portrait of a stranger 52 Photography Project

Portrait of a stranger 52 Photography Project with Ewa Samples Photography – STRANGER no 1. 

Many, many years ago, I have done a 365 project (one photograph a day for a year), with self portraits. It was an awesome journey. Since that project, each year, I though about doing something similar, but couldn’t find an idea that interesting and challenging enough. The self portrait project was VERY challenging for my super self-conscious person. I wasn’t comfortable with it. Sometimes I had push myself very hard to finish it. And I did. And it was a life changing experience.

So, this year I asked around and found several friends interested in joining similar project. We agreed on a 52 Challenge that will require from us to take one picture a week of a stranger.

Each week we will be blogging about it, and sharing the photos we took.

A short story behind the photograph I took last week:

My Strange’s no.1 name is Rockie. I met her in Morgan Hill public library. She was putting make up in the ladies bathroom because she didn’t have the time to do it before she hurried out the house. Well, I know this pain way too good. After a small talk, we wished each other Happy New Year and I left. It was Friday. I felt, I’m running out of time with this project. However I felt scared and intimidated. Because how do you do it? How do you approach a stranger and ask if he/she is ok to be photographed. 

So I stormed back to the bathroom and explained her what I want to do and for what purposes. It felt so intimidating. But she said YES with a big smile on her face. And I was so relieved. 

So here she is, smiling kindly for me, sitting in Morgan Hill Public Library lobby. 

Thank you so much Rockie. YOU ROCK!!!

Portrait of a stranger 52 Photography Project

My partners in crime are:

Ania Gajda from Ania Gajda Photography

Maryam Salassi from Hi and Hello Photography – Maryam is doing different 52, feel free to follow her journey.

Hailey Williams from Archer Inspired

Feel free to follow along!!!

3-4_without silhuette

If you’d like to receive special offers straight to your email, feel free to sign to my newsletter.

Celebrate Yourself with Bay Area Portrait Photographer (or by yourself) ;)

I call this project “Celebrate Yourself”, and it’s a part of my creative portrait photography journey, which I plan to evolve into something fun, and a little different then ordinary portrait photography.

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In this case, I think, it was more about celebrating myself and getting my idea out of my head, more then the subject celebrating herself. You can’t tell but she was freezing in there and all she wanted was a hot tea and a warm sweater.

Deep inside, my dear friend Iryna thinks, what I did to her on that day was a revenge for all the times I had to pose for her. Well, I didn’t have to but this is what friends are for, right?

For me, this project turned out to be a fun experiment. Not only artistically, but personally.

For me, this project was never meant to be in black and white, you know, like converting the whole picture into a black and white photograph.

I know that for most people it would make more sense. But it’s not about making sense, it’s about being true to oneself. Life doesn’t make sense most of the time. And things are never perfect, no matter how hard we try. And this was not about creating something perfect. It was about creating something that speaks me to myself (it that makes any sense).

Showcasing one of those pictures here and there I’ve already received some comments on how I could improve the image by converting it into black and white, or making the background less significant. Well, that’s not going to happen. Just saying.

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In today’s society, people are very easy on giving you advices on how to improve anything in your life, even if they were not asked to do so. And that’s ok. Take it with a smile and move on. Say, “thank you, but, no, thank you” and do things your way. I think, the “super talent” of ignoring others opinion about oneself comes with age, though.

Whenever we get stuff out to the public we are judged, and people are very eager to give us their opinion (doesn’t matter if we asked them for it or not). We have few choices:

  • we can do what we think people expect us to do, and not be criticized for doing something unexpected and different.
  • we can stop doing anything from the fear of being intimidated by people and their opinions about our work.
  • we can be ourselves and have this attitude: “world’s opinion of me is none of my business”

My own decision is to start carrying less about what people think of me, and more about what I think of myself and how I want to feel doing things I love.

It feels good, and I wish I had this ability earlier in my life.

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How about you?

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if you’d like to chat about your session, feel free to email to ewasamples(at)gmail.com  also, to stay on top of all kinds of specials as well as photography tips subscribe to my newsletter :

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