While walking on the Ghats of Alandi last weekend, I saw an old man getting ready after the bath in the holy river. My principle of street photography is try to not shove the camera on the face of someone even before they realize what’s happening. I saw a lot of fellow photographers do the same that day. When I saw this man wrapping his new turban on his head, I went to him and waited politely till he finished adjusting it. In the meantime I struck a conversation with him and told him how vibrant and cool his turban was. He was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I was talking to him and my camera was hanging by my neck being ignored at the moment. He did not say much but gave me a nice smile as a grandpa would give his grand-kid. Our little chat was interrupted by some pro photographer who called him out from some distance to take his photo. The old man was little irritated by the way the other person asked him to pose and immediately turned his back on him to continue talking with me. I did not want to spoil the man’s day by starting it with getting irritated by someone. So I told him not to mind the photographers as they can’t help but notice his awesome turban which he had fitted expertly. On this he smiled again and happily obliged when I asked if I can take his photo. 🙂
I don’t have much experience in photographing strangers on road. But I think people feel good when person taking their photo for no reason actually is a human and finds them interesting. I have seen a lot of confused or irritated people after they posed/let someone take a photo and the photographer just walked away without saying a word.
TL;DR : When you take photos of strangers, talk to them, or at least say thank you.
The old man in photo actually bid me farewell by saying ‘Jay Ram Krishna Hari’ (Bless the lord.., a way of greeting here in Maharashtra). For me this smile is worth a thousand photos..