30 Days 30 Strangers: Day 1

Everyday for the next 30 days I will ask a complete stranger if I can take his portrait.

I see strangers on the streets or subways in the world all the time who I know would make a great subject for a portrait, but I shy away from asking, upholding the unspoken code among New Yorkers not to unnecessarily bother each other.

Or maybe I've let fear get in the way.

I heard two great recommendation at a photography workshop around getting out of a creative rut.

1. Do the thing you are afraid of for 30 days to get over it.

2. The Costanza approach: Do the opposite of what you are comfortable doing.

In other words, if you normally have big, planned, production photoshoots, do the opposite- a barebones, spontaneous photoshoot with a stranger.

I did a hybrid of the two recommendations, or what I call the "30 days to conquer Costanza" approach.

So, for the next 30 days, everyday I will ask a complete stranger if I can take their portrait and I will post at least one photo here.

Good or bad.

These are the parameters I gave myself:

  1. It has to be a perfect stranger.

  2. I have to ask their permission. (and get a model release, I added this a few days after I started, which is why there is no demographic information on the first day)

  3. I have to photograph 1 person every day before midnight. (more than 1 a day doesn’t count toward the next day.)

  4. I will share the photos everyday on this blog

I started yesterday. I asked 3 people, 2 said yes.

I liked his straw hat, his bag and his book. He looked a little like Indiana Jones ©Katarina Kojic

I liked his shoes and the yellow Nathan’s Hotdogs box ©Katarina Kojic


The first day was really about conquering the fear of asking and being told no. Until I closed the loop by asking and getting a yes or no, I would always wonder.

I started day one by asking the first person who struck my eye because of what they were wearing, or surrounded by or combo of; made me smile or think of a story or a character.

Both of these two said yes to being photographed and one person said no. I happily took the yesses and tried to be quick about it. I didn't interview them further, you know, didn't want to be a bother... tired old story.

Tomorrow, I will be a little bit bolder.

#people #challenge #fears #obstacles #starting #portraits #newyork #30days30strangers #practicemakesitlessscary