NOWportrait & the people of Chinatown & Soho

Last Sunday we held our second NOWportrait London meet up. It was wonderful to meet new people – those who’d come along to take part in NOWportrait, and all of the people we met as we walked through the streets of Chinatown and Soho. And there were challenges! It can be very nerve wracking to approach a stranger and begin a chat and one of the most fantastic things about the meet ups is being with like-minded people who are enthusiastic and supportive and doing the same thing.

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Sophy – NOWportrait by Lucy Williams
Sophy picks up the newspapers for her dad on the weekends, she was in a hurry because she was rushing to pick up her son from Chinese school. I asking her for her photo because she looked so bright and cheerful in her shades. To be honest, I could see she was in a rush and I thought she’d say no. I’m really glad she didn’t.

Come and meet the strangers we met as they get posted in the Facebook group and join in the conversation with the NOWportrait community. And when you’re out and about this week take a risk and say hello to someone new! Share who YOU meet in the Facebook group, and on Twitter or Instagram #NOWportrait.

And if you’d like to organise your own NOWportrait meet up where you live, drop us a line and we’ll support you to do that wherever you are.

If you like this post you might also like to see NOWportrait London meet up 1: Leather Lane/ Whitecross Street

 

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Facebook! Where everybody knows your name…

NOWportrait might seem like it’s about portrait photography, which of course, it is, BUT far more than that, it is about people and stories and connections.

I grew up in a village where everyone knew everybody (which had it’s downsides – my mum ALWAYS knew what I was up to). There were always smiles and hellos in the street, chats in the local shop, a friendly wave and a nod of the head, stories shared with people of all ages over a pint in the pub. There were also connections with strangers who you would inevitably find out knew someone that you knew. There was always a human bond. I see people forging those bonds online nowadays, which is an amazing way to connect with strangers all over the world and to share experiences, projects, hopes, dreams etc. But those in our non-online communities often remain strangers. Until we say reach out and say hello.

Below Fiona Yaron-Field, Kathryn Edwards, Jo Donaldson and Lisa Devlin met strangers very close to home. Though not strangers any more…

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Madaleine – NOWportrait by Fiona Yaron-Field
I walked out my house looking for a stranger, directly opposite me was a young woman sitting on the steps. I asked her if she’s be photographed and all about the project. She said it sounded great and she would love to. Her sister worked in art events within the mental health. Madeleine was locked out of her house. Turns out she has lived opposite me for four years and we have never before seen each other. I’ve met a stranger and a neighbour.

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Greer – NOWportrait by Kathryn Edwards
This is Greer. She lives at the end of my road. We’ve never met. She has lived in her house for 7 years. Greer is a Celtic name, although she was born and bred in Nottingham. She was cleaning her doorstep. She is moving to North Wales. They have decided to rent a house in the countryside and get away from the corporate world. Sounds good to me.

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Callum – NOWportrait by Jo Donaldson
I was too ill to get out and about for #NOWportrait but luckily my flatmate had these two over to watch the rugby. Strangers to me at first, so it counts, lovely to meet them too, turns out Callum’s wife Jen is a florist in the wedding industry – Wildflower Florist. Mini networking and photoshoot from the comfort of my couch!

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Billie – NOWportrait by Lisa Devlin
Meet Billie. I thought she was a stranger but it turns out that she lives on my road so now we are friends. What Billie likes most in this world is cake so there are two things we have in common…

This weekend is World Neighbours’ Day (dates vary around the world) and the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone, take part in NOWportrait and to have a chat and take a portrait of the strangers in your local community. The aim of  Neighbours’ Day is to:

  • Strengthen communities and build better relationships with the people who live around us
  • Create safer, healthier and more vibrant living surroundings
  • Promote tolerance, respect and understanding

Your neighbours are a great way to start and who knows where that connection will lead…

Come along and meet the NOWportrait online community in real life – our next meet up is on Sunday June 8th in Soho and we’d love to see you there. Follow us on our Facebook page to find out how you can get involved.

Share your experiences and the people you meet with the NOWportrait community – POST your NOWportraits in the Facebook group, TWEET them on Twitter or SHARE them on Instagram #NOWportrait. Lastly, leave a comment below and tell us your story of  meeting a stranger who has now become a friend.