Monsieur S.

As I was walking in Old Town, by the Saturday Market location, in the late part of a beautiful Saturday afternoon, I heard the wonderful sound and rhythm of Bongo drums being played.  I stopped to listen for a while and found myself alone with the musician as everybody was starting to pack up and close down for the evening.

I finally stepped forward and introduced myself and we started chatting about the music.   I quickly realized that this man was not from here because he had an accent, just like I do.   I found out that he was from a part of Africa where some people speak French.  So, naturally, I switched to French and he was quite surprised that I spoke it too.  We continued conversing a while longer.

This leads me to photography.  I also enjoy doing street portraits, not just candid shots.  After talking to a stranger for a bit,  I may ask them if they would be OK to be photographed.  Most often they accept.  I suppose I approach people with the ultimate intent to photograph them.  Sometimes it works and other times it doesn't. In some cases I decide to not even ask and leave it at, just a pleasant moment chatting. I always keep my camera in plain view and it is often not a surprise to them when I ask about a portrait.

Back to my story about Monsieur S..  I asked him if it would be OK to photograph him, and he said yes without hesitation.  Naturally he gave me a nice smile and I took his photo, but I was not happy with it.  I have found it to be the most natural response from most strangers when asked to be photographed.  That is, giving a big smile, sometime awkward,  and seldom natural.  I wanted something else.  So I asked him for a second photo this time without smiling and I got a much more expressive look.  Strength and confidence is what I see in his portrait.

 I was very happy with the entire encounter, nice chat with a friendly person and a nice photograph, at least one that I am pleased with.

It is all that matters after all.