Stranger 110 - Jesse

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    I had walked past the Billionaires Boys Club just on a side street parallel to Carnaby Street a number of times thinking it would cool to take a portrait of someone in there and yesterday I took the plunge. Jesse was working in there and the place was quiet so I popped in and took my chances.

    Jesse was game and patiently waited while I set my lighting up. I took a few test shots without the flash and was satisfied that some light would give it some oomph since without it Jesse's image in the frame was coming off flat. I wanted to get more of the environment in as well so I changed to my 50mm lens. I tell you what, it was hard to temporarily part with my 85mm but it had to be done.

    The flash was off camera and modified using a shoot through umbrella on camera right. I had to play around with the power as too much power was causing light to bounce everywhere of all that white and was really flattening the image. I got it to a level I wanted and then took some shots. The light was still causing problems but it gave me the definition on Jesse's face that I wanted and I knew I could add back the contrast in post. I took one from this angle and also the other side too to get more of the shop which I will share later.

    Jesse, who works full time in the shop, was a really cool guy and l found out that he was an East Londoner.

    Tiago, my previous stranger, had left this question for him:

    Describe your most embarrassing moment

    Jesse: My most embarrassing moment was when my nana shaved of one of my eyebrows and I had to go to school the next day.

    Me: why did she do that?

    Jesse: she was meant to just shave two small lines going through it but misunderstood what I meant and shaved the whole thing off. I went into school the next day with a cap and I wouldn't take it off no matter how strongly the teachers asked.

    I then went to explain a similar but completely different experience that I had in school and we had a bit of laugh about it. When I asked him what his question would be he requested a few moments to think about it as he wanted to make sure that he asked a good open question (as opposed to a closed question). Having had a few minutes his question was:

    If you had to live the rest of your life as a blind person or a deaf person, which would you choose and why?

    Thank you very much Jesse for being a part of my project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the

    100 Strangers Flickr Group Page

    Connect with me on my facebook page: Shooting the Streets

    or visit my website

    As always constructive criticism is appreciated.

    1. The Urban Scot 45 months ago | reply

      I love white tones in this - he is surrounded by a great clinical environment and the cool cones look wicked, then at front you have this dude just chillaxing. Well played on the rule of thirds!

    2. barbasboth 45 months ago | reply

      Love his reply! :)
      Really nicely lit, totally thought it was nice natural light - you're getting good at this flash thingamajig ;) I admire your courage to experiment with it, and the results speak for themselves :)

    3. w@@t 45 months ago | reply

      I'm watching the latest images of the 100strangers group on the phone and from the thumbnails I was not immediately attracted from your image (i usually can spot your images in less than a second among many others); when I saw your name on it I zoomed in and realized there was your signature: beautiful lighting, great sharpness and a great model. I'm really enjoying the question from previous stranger thing: you get to ask things you'd probably never ask otherwise and this time in particular worked very well. I find quite amazing how different are the strangers we approach: looks like you're confident stopping men which seem so hard and embarassing for me!

    4. jeffcbowen 45 months ago | reply

      This is a very nice environmental portrait, Arnab. It seems to me that you achieved your objectives beautifully as the balance of light is so natural that I never would have suspected flash was used. Your choice of aperture seems just right and I like the way the cones to the left balance out Jesse leaning to the right. While I can't relate so well to the carefully controlled use of flash, I too have been experimenting more with the 50mm lens. I liked your comment about the inevitability of experimenting to see if you could survive without your trusty 85. I am really glad to see it didn't destroy you. :-) Just very, very well done.

    5. Poupetta 45 months ago | reply

      You have created your own mobile studio, Arnab ! Bravo.
      Wonderful light and splendid pose of Jesse. Love his expression and the ice cream cones, too !

    6. mraj october 45 months ago | reply

      A fine mini photo journalistic story to share.

    7. Mart Bee 45 months ago | reply

      What a cool stranger, nice shot !
      Love how you did manage to control the light !

    8. ArnabKGhosal 45 months ago | reply

      Thank you all for taking the time to comment on this portrait.

      Peter McConnochie Haha, I did indeed incorporate rule of thirds in this, but I thought of it more of as adding balance to the photo.

      barbasboth Thanks Barbara, loving learning the lighting aspect in this project.

      w@@t Very kind of you to say. I wasn't really aware that I had a signature style, but if I could continue to maintain those key points in my photography I will be very happy.

      Jeff Bowen Haha, I am definitely not as keen on the 50mm that I have because its nowhere near as sharp. Luckily, I was able to deal with that in post. Will share a natural light shot shortly so you can see the difference.

      Poupetta Thanks Poupetta, I do quite like this "mobile studio"

      raj munisami Mart Bee Thanks guys

    9. ArnabKGhosal 45 months ago | reply

      Hey guys, here's a tryptich of the some of the shots of Jesse. The close in headshot is natural light and I think this helps to show how the flash helped in this situation:

      Stranger 110 - Jesse Tryptich

      Please excuse the borders, still trying to work out how to deal with it in Lightroom.

    10. workable powder [deleted] 45 months ago | reply

      This is a wonderful portrait Arnab. Technically perfect, wonderfully composed (perfect use of the rule of thirds and I love the background detail) but most importantly such a strong connection with you and your subject. If this was a planned shoot I’d be impressed, but the fact that you met your subject only minutes before this shot was taken really speaks volumes of your ability and how you are growing as a photograper. You should be very proud of this portrait.

    11. Andrew The Professor 45 months ago | reply

      Terrific portrait Arnab. I enjoyed your interaction with Jesse too.

    12. ArnabKGhosal 45 months ago | reply

      Workable Powder Thank you very much for your kind comments Peter. Jesse was a cool guy to chat with and very patient too which really helped.

      Andrew M Thank you Andrew.

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