Photographer Matt Higgs says he’s a firm believer that the best way to become a better photographer is to “go out and do things that would normally be outside your comfort zone.” With that in mind he challenged himself to hit the streets and shoot 30 portraits of complete strangers in just two hours. As you’ll see in the video below, he learned a few things along the way.
What made this self-assignment challenging for Higgs is that he’s a self-described introvert who concentrates on landscape, adventure and more structured portrait photography of subjects with whom he is acquainted. “It’s instilled in us from an early age,” he explains, “that we shouldn’t talk to strangers. As such, most of us go about our lives in peaceful little bubbles, doing our best to avoid contact with the outside world.
Higgs is an experienced photographer and his work has been featured in a number of photography and music magazines. But the notion of shooting one portrait every two minutes of total strangers was definitely outside his comfort zone.
So what did Higgs learn during this somewhat daunting two-hour project? Above all, he says he discovered that “people are nice.” He says that after his initial shyness wore off, “I got to know a little bit about these new acquaintances, and not one of them was strange.”
Higgs says he also learned that stress is a powerful motivator and that photography is a great way to get to know your community. For more revelations watch the video to see how Higgs’ project progressed. And be sure to look at our earlier profile of Brandon Stanton, the author of two groundbreaking books on street photography.