A few weeks ago I shared my thoughts about talking to strangers and why Glasgow is the best city in the world to practice this art.  Today, I am sharing the fruits of my real work from that day which was to photograph strangers. Street photography is often stealthy and there is a deliberate dissociation between the photographer and their subject.. I wanted to take photographing strangers further and to find out some of their story. Which meant, gulp, striking up a conversation with people, introducing myself and telling them why I wanted to take their photograph (all without seeming like some kind of stalker).

I started the day gently. During a late brunch with friends I snatched this image of a lady enjoying her Sunday coffee and newspapers. But honestly it didn’t feel that great. The image is fine and it easily tells that story but nothing more – I felt it lacked depth. I needed to woman up to engaging with the people I wanted to photograph.


We headed to Glasgow Green. It was strangely deserted and I had a little fun photographing Flora, but, she’s a pretty compliant subject.


I grabbed one more shot of women enjoying afternoon tea together in the fabulously named Tart tearoom and then…


I grabbed the bull by the horns – and I was so so much happier with the results. Here are three Glasgow stories.

This is Mark McPhelim. A talented Glaswegian artist. You can see his work here. He was selling his prints at a market in the Merchant City. He was a little taken aback to be asked if I could make a portrait. But as I talked with him about NOW portrait and the encouragement to engage with strangers on my mission that day he warmed to the idea. Interestingly, he didn’t want to see the final image on the back of the camera..I do wonder if he will see it now..


Seeing me taking Mark’s photograph these ladies approached and asked if I would take a photograph of them on their mobile. I agreed on the condition that I could also take my own image of them. These two sisters and their Mum were enjoying a Sunday out in Glasgow. The lady on the right of the photograph is involved with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and accessibility. All three were delighted to tell me how much more accessible Glasgow is for a chair user than their hometown of Manchester. I was a little surprised but reassured that Glasgow continues to be welcoming to all.


Overwhelmed by my success, my friends and I decided to sneak in a quick drink before meeting a colleague for dinner. The obvious place was Babbity Bowsters. Not just for it’s pared back traditional charm but it’s fine collection of commissioned Oscar Marzaroli prints. Oscar’s work, most famously, his street photography of children in the Gorbals is not only achingly beautiful as stand alone images but as a record of faces and places that are very loved in Glasgow. Imagine my surprise when after a  few minutes one of his prints came to life right beside us. A group of ladies came in for a drink on their way home from a Sunday shopping spree. One of the group had brought her friends in to see the image that Oscar Marzaroli had made of her 30 years before as she enjoyed a lunch break in George Square. I had to ask her to pose for me – and we had a great chat about that day and her memories of it. The chat quickly moved on (as it tends to in Glasgow) to embrace both groups chatting and finding common links. I’m only sorry that I forgot to note down the lady’s name. This story doesn’t end here though.. a couple of days late I was browsing in a Scottish photography forum and I ended up chatting with Oscar Marzaroli’s grand-daughter. She loved hearing about the chance encounter and I have promised to stay in touch and share the images with her. That week BBC2 screened a documentary about his photographic legacy.

Here is Sunday shopper with her portrait.

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Opportunity, fate and inspiration are always there and waiting. We just have to reach out and make it happen.

Words and images Rosie Woodhouse Love Skye Photography