I have the most difficult time pointing my camera at someone! I feel completely uncomfortable doing that - and my assumption is that I am making them uncomfortable too. Photographer Matt John Robinson took on these same types of feelings and assembled his 100 Strangers Project.
The 100 Strangers Project sounded simple enough: gather 100 portraits of complete strangers after getting their consent. For my mostly introverted self, this meant more precisely: interact with 100 human beings I would otherwise never interact with…AND take their photograph. Yet the intrigue and amazing possibilities that gathered vaguely in my mind were becoming too palpable to resist.
He acknowledges his discomfort:
Taking the portrait of a person whom you’ve just met moments before is one of the most exciting--and in the beginning, unnerving--experiences you can have as a photographer. It’s also one of the most rewarding.
But after building his courage and taking the shot, he reported:
I was blown away. So blown away and filled with excitement over my first ever street portrait that I forgot the young woman's name. But I am oh-so-grateful to have met my unnamed Stranger #1 in her Philly's ball cap. She opened my eyes to how easy and instantaneous it can be to connect with people you've never met, and how truly kind a complete stranger can be.
Now I'm not sure I can get myself to this point. But if you can find the courage, he offers some excellent advice about how to pull it all together. Check out his complete article about the project on the Digital Photography School web site (a great resource if you haven't already discovered it). You can also find the photography of others who are attempting similar projects in their shared flickr group.