Stranger 100/100 -- Xiao -- London, Soho
Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page
Wow. I made it. The big 1-0-0! And what a sweet person to be the one to feature in this portrait - I couldn't have hoped for a nicer model than Xiao.
I wanted to do something different for the 100th portrait in this wonderful project that I've been working on for the past two and a half years (I decided to start it in February 2013).
I had something conceptual in mind, that looked a bit like a studio portrait (without the lighting - I'm still not really into carrying flash gear on the street) and featured a flower, because I love flowers. I'd spotted these cool purple balls (alium - onion flowers!) at a flower stall in Soho and decided to find someone who looked like they would suit the flower.
I had almost given up when I saw Xiao, looking cute, innocent and stylish, standing outside an art shop. Perfect! She said yes to the portrait and she was great in front of the camera with very little direction needed for her to get into the poses. My friend Ant was on hand to assist by holding a 120cm silver reflector to fill in the shadows on the left of the image (there are some strange purple/blue highlights, those are there on the original and I'm not sure why but they are cool so I didn't edit them out).
We talked at length about various topics, such as Xiao's recent skydiving experience (she loved it) and her course, which is textile design at the London College of Fashion.
I asked Xiao to tell me about a time when someone made her feel special, and what it was like. She talked about a teacher she had, who would always push her and give very constructive feedback because he believed in her and wanted her to do her absolute best.
I also told her that she made me feel special that day, for being able to complete the project and so kindly giving her time and friendly personality :)
We parted ways with a hug and of course I gave Xiao the flower as a little thank you :)
This has been quite a ride... and I'm in for more. Bring on Round 2!