It has been a little while since my last stranger encounter, but with the constant emails and support from fans on Flickr and Facebook I was never going to stop – and last weekend I had my camera in hand and was ready to find Stranger #42.
For those of you who participate in the project yourself, you’ll probably recognise how hard it can be to get back into the habit of approaching strangers once again after some time off. For me, it had been a few months and suddenly I was having flashbacks to the nervous wreck I was before approaching Kara back at Stranger #1.
Anyway, I managed to shake those nerves off and headed just down the street to the 3rd St promenade where Saturdays always bring thousands of people. It wasn’t long before I spotted a man crossing the street with what looked to be a very impressive moustache, so I weaved my way through the crowd and introduced myself to Al.
On closer inspection, Al’s moustache was clearly something impressive and when I asked for a photo he quickly replied yes, but he was in a hurry to get somewhere. So without any preparation I turned to what was the nearest wall and took Al over for a few very quick shots.
Now one of the hardest things I’ve found since starting this project has been photographing strangers with glasses, particularly in conditions where there are lots of different directions of light. I was having this problem instantly with Al and was getting some pretty nasty reflections in his glasses, but with limited time I just moved him into a few different poses and managed to shoot from a few different heights just to eliminate them as much as possible. With more time I would have loved to swap locations and fixed them completely, but the resulting shot shown here was the best result of the few frames I had.
I had also tried a shot which used the brick wall on more of a falling perspective which I really liked, however the reflections from all the glass windows and bus-shelters that surrounded us didn’t make that best best shot.
After taking a few frames Al needed to be on his way, so I ‘walked-and-talked’ with him to get a few more details. It turns out Al’s moustache is award winning, in fact he is the current reigning USA National Champion for his Musketeer Style Moustache. He is in ‘training’ for the 2013 World Beard and Moustache Championships coming up in Germany later this year, and I think he has a very good chance of doing well. What a great place that would be to have your camera handy too!
Al also went onto tell me that he is a local here from Los Angeles and before taking his career seriously as a Musketeer, he was formally a Marketing Executive. I’m sure his moustache could sell many products!
So after a long wait between photographs I thank Al for getting me back into this project and I hope the next portrait comes to all my fans much sooner than the last.