In which our hero embarks on a journey into the vast unknown with you, dear reader. See through his lens and meet the strangers he meets. Or, in some cases he doesn't meet; he just awkwardly takes the photo and walks away. In this installment
Every day you walk down the street and you see them. When you were a kid your parents told you not to talk to them. If they look interesting to me, I photo them.
In this first installation I will begin at the beginning and then jump ahead.
This first shot goes all the way back to 2011 when I’d first read about Garry Wingorand and Henri Cartier Bresson and Leica rangefinders and hyperfocal distance. This shot wasn’t taken with my trusty 500dtl, but with my first (red) La Sardina. My wife and I went to Grant’s Farm in St. Louis, MO one afternoon in July. I also had with me in my camera bag the Bencini Comet S and the 500dtl. The Sardina had the black and white (Kodak BW400CN) while the others were loaded with some sort of handrolled redscale film. Anyways, the shot. We were getting ready to leave the park and what you’re seeing is the exit tunnel. This lady was waiting for someone, I never found out who or for how long. As I passed, I had my camera in hand and I crouched down. She was looking the direction she’s looking and I snapped the shot, stood up, and exited the park. I sometimes find myself wondering who she’s waiting for.
This next shot is a young man who was playing guitar down on Delmar Blvd. in the University City Loop district of St. Louis, MO. He and his friends were sitting at the corner of Leland and Delmar (the corner I used to sit on in my youth with a cup of coffee and a notebook jotting notes of passers by and writing terrible poetry). They were carousing and making music. I took a few other pictures of the group with various other cameras about a half an hour earlier that day. This shot was taken with the 500dtl on Fomapan 100 (home developed in caffenol). When I stopped by them on my way back to the car he’d stopped playing guitar and was smoking. When I asked to take his picture he stopped smoking and I unceremoniously said “Smoke.” which came out more bluntly and harshly than I meant it too. But, he did. And I was really happy with the shot.
With more sun (spring/summer) comes more opporitunities for street photography. As I type this I’m currently scanning a roll of film I recently shot that I’m very excited about. So, until next time, happy shooting dear readers. And if you have shots of strangers you’d like to share, please do in the comments below. I’d love to hear your stories!
Photos and words by Robert Rohe. Rob lives in Collinsville, Illinois where he frequently commutes to nearby St. Louis, Missouri to photograph the masses. Read more of his series, Don’t Talk to Strangers.