„Peux-je faire un photo de toi?“ That´s one of the few phrases I learned for my trip to Paris, which basically means “Can I take a picture of you?”. Asking people for a portrait is really an exciting and a rewarding experience for me. While asking I always try to give compliments too, so even when the person I asked doesn´t like to be photographed, she is still flattered and has a positive feeling. I ask men and women in an approximatly equal amount, but the guys seemed to be more refusing towards being photographed.
Taking pictures in the metro is just so much fun. Coming from a smaller city without a transportation system such as the metro in Paris it is really cool to see, how many different people come together by waiting for the next train. This period is the perfect time, to ask people who look interesting to me, for a picture. When the little confusion of being asked for a photo changes into a bright smile and a warm goodbye it gives a good feeling to me and the person I took a picture of. So I guess you could say, asking for pictures is really a great way to have a nice quick interaction with strangers.
I used my Leica M6 with a Voigtlander Color-Skopar f/2.5 35mm lens and Ilford HP5 black & white film. I pushed the film to ISO 1600 for enough headroom, when I was shooting in the subway. The settings there were f/2.5 and 1/60 as the shutter speed. Outdoors I stopped the lens down, which is usually my preferred way to shoot, because this gives me the opportunity for quick zone focusing.