Christopher Ward is a photographer and filmmaker. He has been living in Ireland for 15 years but hails originally from South Africa. He photographs and films beautiful wedding portfolios. But some of his best work involves street portraits of random strangers he meets. The idea of walking up to strangers isn’t new or particularly unique. Many photography students use the practice to hone their craft. Christopher Ward calls his project Model Strangers.
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You never know what you’re going to get when you walk up to a total stranger and ask to take a street portrait. Such was the case when Chris approached Irene in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Irene is a well-dressed older lady with a unique style. Christopher mentioned her very nice fashion sense. She yanked off her purple gloves, remarking that she was annoyed with them because they contrasted with the rest of her outfit.
With a quick laugh, Chris assured her that the gloves were amazing and that a little bit of contrast was good. Irene pulled out her gloves and put them back on. Then she asked if she was going to be a famous model. Yes, Irene, you are now a famous model. And an absolutely adorable human!
During the photoshoot, as he clicked image after image, Chris asked general questions about his subject. He asked Irene what makes her happy. Her answer was “knowing if I can just help somebody get through a day a little better. That’s worthwhile.”
Model Strangers Is An Amazing Look At Human Nature
Irene elaborated on her career. She is a retired language teacher who taught French and German. She expressed some distress that she has been unable to learn Italian, even after studying for years and years. Then, she asked Chris some questions about linguistics. He admitted to speaking a little bit of Afrikaans and Zulu from growing up in South Africa. Irene mentioned she is heading there on a cruise soon.
One of the big questions Chris asked is, “What has love taught you over the years?” Irene made a face but didn’t hesitate much with her answer, “Love has taught me not to be too idealistic. I’ve learned to accept human nature with all its flaws and to be compassionate, you know?”
On his website, Chris talks about having a fear of strangers and using the Model Strangers project as a form of therapy. After meeting Irene, we’re glad he chose this manner to work through his fear. She is a treasure.
You can see more of Chris’s street portraits on his website, Instagram, and Facebook. He brings us a little slice of life with a unique perspective. You can watch the entire Model Stranger photoshoot below.
You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.
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