Thomas (Stranger #90/100), London Noho

Street Portrait

Last night I met up with Arnab and Peter in Soho, for a quick catch up and a wander around the streets. We shot a few test shots of one another, but weren’t having much luck marrying strangers to backgrounds.

With Peter whizzing North back to Nottingham, Arnab and I wandered back towards my office where a little extra work was waiting to close out before the last train home.

We took a turn through the maze of COW/Camden streets that the in crowd sometimes call Noho to check out a new UCL building whose misty white glass panels looked decent for a daytime portrait. With a little light left, it seemed a good way to close the session to shoot a few more test shots to better understand the scene for future sessions.

And that’s when Thomas turned up. If you set out on this project and you’re weighing up a new portrait lens or a phone jammer, take the phone jammer. So many amazing strangers miss out on awesome portraits thanks to their friends, family and employers phoning them! Turning in the growing gloom and seeing Thomas on the phone, so poised, sleek, stylish and unashamedly GQ masculine, I in fact made a telephone gesture to him and raised an eyebrow – a knee jerk improvisation in the hope he might pause his call. Fortunately, he was in fact just finishing it, and having carefully listened to my overview of the project and reviewed some images on my cards and iPhone, he decided to take part. He made a quick follow up call to confirm a short delay due to his being interrupted by a photographer, and turned his focus to the shoot.

It’s a small miracle Arnab is still with us. Perhaps he offended some wayward djinn in a past life, but seeing him on umbrella duty the wind whipped itself into a whirling frenzy. Whilst he fought to keep hold of the light stand, Thomas manfully managed his outrageously Hollywood hair, and put up with my constant requests for him to straight sleeves.

Thomas is CEO and co-founder of technology firm Go Find It. He had presence; that magic dust mix of magnetic charisma and take no prisoners straight forwardness that one finds in the best business people and leaders.

Having shot for some fifteen minutes, we shook hands, he passed me his card and set off. A superb encounter.

Info for Strobist;

The key light is from a Canon 600EX-RT shot through 43″ umbrella, camera right at a hard angle, almost 180* to his face, a foot or so forward, for a harder masculine light. There’s a second 600EX-RT on the background, some fifteen feet back, improvised during the shoot as the light fell. Both are fired from ST-E3-RT at ETTL -.7 stops.

This is portrait #90 of my 100 Strangers Project – check out the group page and get involved.

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