Milena (Stranger #63/100), Sofia

A recurring theme in 100 Strangers Project interactions is that so many of the very most photogenic, interesting people initially reject the chance to be involved on the grounds that they aren’t worth photographing.

Milena is a poster child of this phenomenon.

I had a charcoal wall with darker, shadowed entrance way, all shot and tested and was looking for someone with a dark top to shoot against it. A narrow splash of light ahead of the wall was waiting for a reflector to shoot back in.

Milena’s healthy glow and grey t-shirt was perfect, hence my persevering ten seconds after she’d initially noted with surprise that she didn’t come out well in photographs. Nonetheless she very gamely agreed to take a handful of shots, her holding the giant gold reflector, and I shooting just over the top of the smaller sunfire disc. By the end of our shoot, she seemed happy with the results. It’s great to be part of that mutual journey with a subject.

My only regret is not, when reviewing the shots with her, noting her bag and shooting one more with its strap off her shoulder. The mix of hair, angles and changes in the BG mean I won’t attempt to Photoshop it out in this instance. The pose is slightly closer in that some of my stranger shots, and we had others more in the typical style, but I really liked the “approach energy” in this frame, and the way it worked with the soft pool of light off the gold reflector.

Milena is Bulgarian, studying in the capital and approaching the completion of her degree in Pharmacy. Why Pharmacy? It’s always been her dream. Awesome.

Milena – thank you so much for stopping and taking part. You have an incredible dream; best of luck bringing it to life. It sounds like you’re well on the way! Thank you again!

This is portrait #63 of my 100 Strangers Project – check out the group page and get involved.

Finally, I’m now live on Facebook; www.facebook.com/Flatworldsedge

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