100 Strangers Project

19th Nov 2014
Photo of 100 Strangers Project 1/2 by Gayathri Setty
First stranger of my project!

Being bitten by photography bug recently, I’ve been experimenting with various genres of this art and I’ve come to realise that I really enjoy capturing portraits. I also like meeting new people. Most of my bus/train journeys are never a bore as I try and strike a conversation with the fellow passengers soon enough. I must say I’ve met very interesting people.

So, What is this 100 Strangers Project?

The project is a challenge to take hundred photographs of at least hundred people you don’t know. Approach a person or group of people and ask for permission to take a photo of them. And more importantly, get to know your subjects. Who are they? What is their life like? Tell their story.

Taking portraits of hundred people may seem to be easy as there are thousands of strangers on the street. However, it’s not just about the photos. Every portrait has to have a short story with it. Be it about the stranger or the whole encounter. A story has to be there. So it’s not that easy, eh?

I think it’s going to be fun! It might even expand my everyday living experience. Moreover, who knows I might even make a couple of new friends in the process!

So, here I start a series on my encounters with 100 strangers!

Stranger #1: The lady from the house of the tiger god!

Photo of 100 Strangers Project 2/2 by Gayathri Setty

The cute little fingers were trying to grab my phone. I started changing wallpapers on it and she was all smiles to watch the colours change with the swipe of a finger. Sometimes it’s just that one pure innocent smile that takes your heart away! After playing with me for a while her sleepy eyelids started drooping and she drifted into a peaceful sleep.

“Where are you travelling to?”, the most common question asked during bus journeys was exchanged. Hulidevaramane was her reply and Sigandur was mine.

She had a sweet smile on her face throughout. During the course of conversation that followed, she told me a lot about her life. Originally from a town, she now stays in a remote village which doesn’t even have direct access to a bus. The last five kilometres to the village has to be on foot. Helping her husband with farming, she also milks the cows everyday to extract around thirty litres of milk!

I was filled with respect for her and other similar women in our rural communities who have great physical endurance and stamina which most of us – urban dwellers don’t seem to possess.

Meet Ranjitha and her baby Rakshitha from Hulidevaramane, a remote village in Sagar taluk of Shimoga district. I met her on my way to a lovely village called Sigandur which is surrounded by the Sharavathi backwaters.

As I chatted with her I suddenly felt that she has to be the first stranger of my project! I didn’t have my DSLR but somehow I wanted her to be my first stranger. I immediately took her permission to take a picture of both of them which she readily gave. But since it was a moving bus and I only had a mobile phone, the photo quality is not that great. Nevertheless, I’m just so happy to kick start my project!

[Update] Find more posts on 100 strangers project here.