Project Random + jumbled thoughts on photographing strangers

(Before I begin, I’m sure the word “random” will be overused here, so just a forewarning. Also this is a very silly random end-of-college-days impromptu moment, so don’t take us seriously!) The original random plan was to take a photo of the 4 of us at a photo shop just around college. It turns out photo shops only offer dignified passport sized pictures, not 4 girls suddenly deciding to take a photo.

Thus the plan evolved:

  • Walk furthur around college to find a photo shop
  • Take a bus to Mid Valley
  • Take a bus to Pasar Seni
  • Take the cab to KL central
  • Take the cab to Penang
  • Take the bus to Genting
But we walked to KL central anyway.

PR evolved to each choose a stranger, then have every one’s picture taken with the stranger together. Mostly we singled out guai lous but got too nervous to speak to them and poof they went on their busy way as all KL central people are. Yee Sim did the first move by asking a nice couple, with Joanna, Kris and I backing her up like soldiers. They were very willing, “Sure sure! No problem!” we got this.  The next 5 strangers were Malaysians, and they weren’t very willing, some wary, suspicious, reluctant, some even with a flat outright “no”. I mean, I get it, worried that it’s not safe, but how much of a safety compromise can it be if I were to take a picture with you? Hey, and I thought Malaysians are known for their friendliness, right?

I’m enthusiastic about this “project”, only I always lack guts to ask people for their photo. Know street photography, one has to be brave, step up and ask for their photo, (or another kind of street photographer just snaps the photo without their subject realising looking maybe like a creep but those photos are the best, really). I think if I were alone I’d have more courage to ask. Because there’s always that nagging feeling “ask ask ask if you don’t ask they’ll walk away and you will regret it”.

Hmmm. I don’t know. So far I’ve only asked a stranger once and that was an off duty model at MV’s fashion walk. I feel nervous my legs turn to jelly and I stutter a sentence in which the stranger has to lean in and ask “sorry, what?” then with the craziest grin plastered on my face and baring my teeth (unintentionally, because I always grin when I am super nervous) I ask them again in a not so stuttery but still stuttery voice. Then I lift my camera to eye level and snapsnapsnap not even giving them time to compose themselves so all the pictures I have are comical unflattering ones of half blinking people with their mouths opened in an equally unflattering way. And in less than 30 seconds I’m still grinning maniacally, probably enough to scare the stranger away in a grinning-creep-just-took-a-bajillion-photos-of-me way. Then I’m left with a dozen of unflattering stranger photos.



One thought on “Project Random + jumbled thoughts on photographing strangers

  1. (Woops sorry don’t know if my comment got sent so sorry if you got this twice!) Just popping in to say you’ve got a beautiful blog, I recognise you my Tumblr haha! Keep it up and btw I’m from Singapore so I’m not so far from you, aww :)


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