If Looks Could Kill

mr. skater20150101_5268 as Smart Object-1

I take pictures of people I don’t know.

Sometimes they smile, sometimes they frown. I can try to make educated guesses but in truth I never really know how they are going to respond.

I have been prowling streets for only slightly more than half a year now, but have accumulated some encounters you may find interesting.

The above is from the Foreword to a photo-essay, “If Looks Could Kill: When Strangers Notice You Taking Their Picture.” Click on the title if you wish to read the 26 page pdf.


5 Replies to “If Looks Could Kill”

  1. I just read through your If Looks Could Kill and it’s fascinating, I’m left with feeling I want more more more! You raise concerns I’d never considered, and it made me wonder what my reaction would be. People don’t always know these days how or if their photos might be used, or what the photographer is up to. I think of all those Cartier-Bresson portraits, and picture them in my mind I’m thinking they are 90% rear and side views, walking away, from the back, etc and he didn’t do your battle. It’s an amazing journey you take us on, to see the real world, the human animal in its natural habitat. And you know, we all do look a bit like those wild lions lifting their heads above the high grass at the impertinent Landrovers and guides who wander across their personal Serengeti, wondering (as you describe) if the man with the camera should be ignored or eaten. And with the occasional posing camel, or giraffe or playful monkey too, sure enough of themselves to be delighted by an exchange, an encounter. It is such a pleasure to see our fellows and their intriguing expressions and bodies and moods and costumes, not posed or on fashion runways but people living a life. I really loved the guy on the skateboard with the hockey stick, loved him, he looked pure Roman warrior. You make me think how beautiful we all are for our individuality and our uniqueness. Thanks, oops.
    You would be bored to tears in North Korea.


    1. What a wonderful analogy, to the wild animals of the Serengeti! I often see hominids instead of humans on the streets. As far as Korea goes, wouldn’t be bored for long – Kim Jong would probably throw me naked to a pack of starving dogs like he did his uncle. Would be nice if I could at least take my camera with me. 🙂


  2. Your photo-essay is insightful and inspiring. I went back again to the homeless woman who smiled at you: I’m sure you’re right, that someone really seeing her for probably the first time in ages had to please her. And there’s something about that young woman cleaning the window of the great building and turning to see what you’re doing…just great!


    1. Thanks… I really miss wild Montana and other parts of the Northwest but for a while at least I’m stabilized. Plotting new trips next year, however. Always a pleasure reading about your hiking expeditions.


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