We were in the audience of the Clan Tynker Family Circus. During a moment of particular drama when a sword was being swallowed, I looked around at people standing nearby to observe their reactions. I noticed her holding a smartphone to her face, as if to shield herself from the anxiety of watching the daring act unfurling in front of us.
At the end of the show, when the crowd began to disperse, I approached and asked for permission to make her portrait for my 100 Strangers project. She was with several other women who literally backed off from us, while verbally encouraging her to accept my request.
She saw that I was with my own children and standing in the public with nothing to fear so she accepted. Meet Sabrina, 48/100; a hair artist who can do everything with hair, from extensions to color to cuts and styling for women, men and children.Although she asked if I would want her to remove her eyeglasses, she didn’t wait for my answer before pocketing them. I managed two shots and then she became self-conscious. And that’s, of course, where the friction line pulls tight for us with the strangers. At least I had made two of her that were in focus with good eye contact.
At her pause, she asked me to hold on for a moment. Sabrina walked to the gaggle of girlfriends who were watching us from a distance. Out of the group she took the hand of a young lady, and lead her back to me. They were smiling at each other and the intimacy was strong. I had no idea of their relationship to each other; who am I to judge?
“Can we make the rest of her, instead?” Sabrina asked me.
For a moment, I was caught off-guard. This new potential subject looked too young to be included in the 100 Strangers project.
“She is pretty, but may I ask the age of this young lady?” I asked.
“She’s fifteen. This is my daughter.”
“If you don’t mind, I’d be happy to make a portrait of you together, but first I want to make sure that you like one of the photographs that I’ve already taken of you. If not, could we try another?” I explained that I would be emailing to her a file that could be printed as an 8×10. That’s the “what’s-in-it-for- them” piece that subjects seem to respond to when on the fence.
Sabrina came over and looked at the camera LCD screen to see my two shots. She told me she liked both of them. Or at least she said that to move things along to the opportunity of being photographed with her daughter. My favorite of them posing together can be viewed here.