Friday, January 27, 2012

Meeting My Neighbors and Taking Their Portrait

I've lived in the same place for nine far as I remember. I mean, I'm pretty sure it's been nine years.  When I travel, I rent my home out, but I have been living here the majority of the nine years.  Besides a few select neighbors, I have no idea who my neighbors are or what their life is like.  I see interesting people walk by and sometimes I wonder about who they are.  There are a few who walk by everyday like clockwork and I have a nickname for them, based on their style. I always look forward to "pirate" walking by and I hope to get his portrait one day.

When I'm on the road, I don't mind approaching strangers since they will never see me again most likely but when I'm in my own neighborhood, I tend to avoid meeting anyone that is within viewing distance.  It could be that I am pretty shy or might not have the energy to talk to anyone, or perhaps both.

One of my photography instructors told me in front of the class that I spend too much time in my head.  He is right.  Then I thought..."How does he know this?"

I tend to think and think about things and ideas until it drives me crazy and the only way to get it out is to do it.  Most likely this isn't the brightest of ways to motivate but it seems to have served me well for the most part.  I have to admit that sometimes it takes someone saying something to get me to take action.

I decided that it's time to talk to people that live around me.  The other night I went for a walk and smiled and said hello to everyone I passed by.  It's a fact, smiling is contagious.  For someone who usually puts her earphones in for a walk, I was surprised on how easy it is to meet people.  Not only meet them, but each person I met allowed me to take their portrait.  Sometimes I would start with a smile and a compliment while other times I didn't know what to say so I just blurted out, "may I take your portrait?" Not only did they say yes but many were flattered I asked and one woman was so thankful that I talked to her and said hello.  How could you have a bad day after an experience like that?

Do you know your neighbors?  I challenge you to say hello and introduce yourself.  I bet you will be glad you did.  Here are some of my neighbors I met on my walk yesterday.  I intend to continue to meet as many neighbors as I can in the next few months.


Sinbad and I on the Loose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scottie said...

Alison, I have always loved your portraits. You make each subject come alive with individuality. I often send links to your portraits to my other photographer friends, if I may consider you a friend. It would be interesting to read your subjects' comments when they see their portraits. Keep the pictures coming!

Julie Magers Soulen said...

Love this series. Your portraiture skills are formidable.

Julie Magers Soulen Photography

Alison said...

Thank you so much Sinbad, Scottie and Julie! It's not easy for me to approach people sometimes but that's the beauty of it. I've found that people really are nice out there.

@Sinbad, I know what you mean... I think about that all of the time. However, it's all about your energy. I bet many people would say yes after you talked to them for a bit. However if you ran up and insisted on a pic, that might be considered a bit creepy. :)

Summer said...

I love these photos. I especially love the Budddhist monk. I instantly would want to hug him. All of those photos are awesome though.
I just moved to a new farm. I think I will bake some pies and run around to the neighbors and say hello.

Mexico Ecotourism said...

I love the picture of the two old ladies, they look so stylish! I live in a very friendly neighborhood, but it also took me long time to finally talk to my neighbours, but I never regretted it!

PetDoc said...

Hi there!This is the first time I've read your blog. All your portrait photos (is that redundant?) made me smile. I think that makes them pretty powerful! I also travel (5th wheel) solo with my dogs. Your blog is now in my "favorites" file. Thank you for sharing! Deanna

Cindy Mallalieu said...

These are the coolest pictures, and your neighbors look so interesting. I completely understand about being in your own head too much, as I am like this, too. L ove your blog!!!!!!!

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