25 Planned Portraits of Absolute Strangers

It's easy to take a photo of a complete stranger. But it's a lot harder to introduce yourself to someone, and in a few moments, capture a true portrait. For this week's Shooting Challenge, that's just what you did.


WINNER - The Barber

I'm very new to my city/neighborhood. I've seen this guy around quite a bit and it turns out he's the local barber.Luckily I managed to catch him just before he was starting work. Very nice guy and quite the character.
- Ian Pettigrew

Morning Runner

While running same trails all the time, you come across familiar faces and what better way to take the opportunity to show one of them with this challenge. Being a runner myself, I wanted to make this challenge personal by taking my camera to the trails that calm me on a stressful day. During her training run, Grace kindly let me photograph her and she naturally illuminated the environment in which she plays in. Shot by the Rose Bowl with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EF 70-200mm f/4-5.6 lens with an available light exposure of 1/125sec @ f/5.0 and ISO 200.
- Jennifer Castro



San Francisco is full of aspiring musicians. I was walking down Haight Street and since I'm from here, I usually don't pay attention but because of this photo project, all of a sudden, I notice all of the colorful people out here. Some of them more interesting than the shops themselves; one of them being the girl whose banjo read, "Life is not a paragraph." I shot using my Nikon D40, ISO at 400, 55mm f5.6 1/100 seconds. Then I went into photoshop and made it into a black and white, and to make her eyes pop out a little more.
- Stacy Repin


Coin Counter

I was walking around the beach, which we call the strip, and saw a guy counting his coins. I snuck up infront of him and said "boo!" and took his picture. Needless to say, he got $3 bucks from me :)
- Crystal Yap



I hopped on the first ferry out of Seattle; it didn't matter where. The mockingjay pin caught my eye, and the odds were in my favor when he agreed to a picture. This is my first Gizmodo shooting challenge.
- Helen Lee



Over the weekend I decided to really nerd-out and go solo to the Illinois Railway Museum about an hour northwest of Chicago. I took my T2i and 3 film cameras. Almost all of the restoration work done on the locomotives and cars is done by retired guys doing it on their free time. I was in a back area and ask one of the old guys to stand in front of one of the freight cars that was in pretty rough shape. "What's this for?" he asked. "Posterity." I replied.
-Rob Lennox


Pierced Portrait

After a nice Easter Sunday family gathering, my girlfriend and I decided to take a walk in a nearby forest preserve. We hiked to a small waterfall and after being there for about half an hour, a couple walked up. They were not the couple I would have thought to see hiking through the suburbs, but I knew immediately I wanted shoot their portraits. My girlfriend had to do a little convincing for me to actually approach them, but I did it. To be honest, I never even caught there names. I simply approached them and asked if I could take their portrait. That's why I love these challenges...It makes you think outside the box and gets you out of your comfort zone.
- Michael Durr



So this weekend I volunteered at halfway house in Tjuana for disabled homeless men with our local church. I met various characters, but for some reason, after 4 hours, this guy had not moved an inch from the time I first saw him. After a quick chat with him I asked him why he had not moved, and he simply replied "nobody has bothered talking to me!"
- Chris Felix



I was walking past Central Station in Sydney when i came across this gentleman sitting in a corner on an empty crate of milk bottles, smoking a cigarette. I walked up to him and asked him if he would mind if i take a couple of photographs of him. He smiled and nodded, which meant i could. I noticed he was avoiding looking straight into the camera after i took a couple of shots, so i asked him to look straight at me, and took this shot when he did.
- Sher Ali Khan


I had no clue what to expect this week, and what arrived was a series of thoughtful, empathetic and flat-out well-executed portraits of people you didn't know before photographing. Many of you mentioned being pushed beyond your comfort zones, and to you especially, thanks for taking part.

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