Last Thursdays on Alberta St. in Portland (06/28/18)

I've been trying to do more street photography lately, and Last Thursdays on Alberta St. in Portland is a great place to do so. I chose my newly-acquired Olympus XA 35mm film camera for the evening. This thing came out in 1979 and is quirky AF. I had no idea what the photos would look like when I was walking around taking these. I just hoped they would turn out decent.

But enough about cameras. The real goal of this evening was to have fun and interact with some people. It's just a great feeling to walk down the street and not worry about cars. I feel like everyone's mood is lifted by this.

Last Thursdays on Alberta (06/28/18): Plenty of live music to dance to

Last Thursdays on Alberta (06/28/18): Plenty of live music to dance to

Last Thursdays on Alberta (06/28/18): People of all ages about to watch the break dancing show

Last Thursdays on Alberta (06/28/18): People of all ages about to watch the break dancing show

Street Art and Vendors

I noticed some really cool reflections in some displayed street art and was trying to get a few photos of this (they didn't turn out that great). As I was walking away, a guy named Andrew Rapisarda (pictured below) handed me his business card. My first thought was, oh shit, this guy thought I was just trying to photograph his art so I could reproduce it. I told him about the cool reflection in his art I was trying to photograph, then immediately was like, "Hey! Can I photograph you?" He was cool with it, so I took this one below:

Last Thursdays on Alberta (06/28/18): Photo of the artist Andrew Rapisarda

Last Thursdays on Alberta (06/28/18): Photo of the artist Andrew Rapisarda

Bitches of the Sun

There was live music everywhere that night, but the band Bitches of the Sun was my favorite. They had teeny tiny amps and a very small drum kit, but it didn't really matter. They rocked it and people were into them. I left a small tip in the jar and told the bass player they sounded great. He was really friendly and he was nice enough to let me take a quick photo of him in between songs.

Last Thursdays on Alberta (06/28/18): The band Bitches of the Sun

Last Thursdays on Alberta (06/28/18): The band Bitches of the Sun

Last Thursdays on Alberta (06/28/18): The band Bitches of the Sun

Last Thursdays on Alberta (06/28/18): The band Bitches of the Sun

Sometimes Approaching Strangers is Hard

As a naturally shy person, photographing strangers is not something that comes easily to me. Fear, however, is a great motivator. While walking around that evening, I noticed this girl sitting on the sidewalk. She was compelling. She was just sitting there calmly with all the craziness going on around her. After walking by a couple times, I introduced myself and asked if I could take her photo. I sat on the ground with her for a few minutes and just chatted. She said her name was Anastasia, and she grew up in Russia.

Last Thursdays on Alberta (06/28/18): Photo of Anastasia

Last Thursdays on Alberta (06/28/18): Photo of Anastasia

I’m sure I said some dorky things. I talked about this movie I recently saw that was based in Russia. Nice, Chris! Despite not being smooth, I felt completely present. There were tons of people walking all around us as we were talking. I didn’t care about the distractions. I was really just trying to listen and get a glimpse of this person. Sure, the photo could be better composed, but this is what I call a victory.

I’m trying to remind myself that comfort is not the answer all the time. I need to learn from fear and just keep it by my side. Maybe you see in the photo above what I was trying to capture?

Conclusion

Overall, I'm pretty happy with these photos. I love the colors and the feeling of nostalgia with this older film camera. But way more than that, I'm happy with these photos because I got out of my comfort zone a bit and just talked with people on the street.

-Chris