Oscar (Stranger #83/100), London Waterloo Arches

Street Portait

Meeting up with Arnab to team up on our 100 Stranger Projects, we’d picked a bad day weather wise. Suffice to say we’d packed the wrong kind of umbrellas, on a day when London’s premature summer turned to heavy, dismal rain.

We met at Waterloo, heading for the Thames, but stopped at some tiled arches just outside the station. A year and a half back I’d shot here with Emma J Black in daylight for my image Venetian Noir. Sheltered from the rain, with a steady flow of people heading to the station, and some wonderfully discoloured fluorescent light it seemed a super location.

Light wise it was. I’m experimenting with the umbrella for night work after a year using softbox. The softbox is too efficient for my night exposure settings – overexposing even at 1/128 power. I’m hoping the more wasteful umbrella will help keep things in check, and it gave a lovely exposure on Arnab right out of the gateway. Unfortunately, in the rain, late after work, everyone was bustling home and in no mood to stop.

We were about to give up and head on to the river, when I noticed Oscar and Laura stood in the rain – very gamely taking a picture of one another in front of the station. Laura’s scarf and beige coat were superbly stylish and seemed a match for the background.

Just arrived in town from Mexico City for four days holiday, they very kindly agreed to take part.

This is a rare occasion (I think I’ve only done it once before), where I’m posting both images against the single encounter. Both did a superb job – of posing themselves, and helping the other with reflectors. Laura was every bit as fantastic a subject as expected, yet I’ve gone with Oscar as the official stranger #83 for re-calibrating one of my prejudices… I’ve been switched off by anorak’s before. They didn’t seem quite chic enough, and yet, the way he carried it, in that light, with the slight dappling of raindrops really interested me.

Laura and Oscar – many thanks for stopping and being part of my project! I hope you had fun in London, even if that first day was not the very best in terms of weather. At least you got to see London in it’s authentic grey shroud of rain!

Safe travel home! Email me for your shot together too. I really hope you like them!

Info for Strobist – 43″ umbrella with Canon 600EX-RT just out of shot camera left, ETTL 0, fired by RT from ST-E3-RT. Oscar is holding one reflector, and Laura another larger one just out of shot camera right.

This is portrait #83 of my 100 Strangers Project – check out the group page and get involved.

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