What is this for?
I get asked this question more than any other, usually in response to my asking if I can take someone’s picture. People often ask because they are curious — curious what I am up to — curious what it means — curious if there is some hidden agenda or profit motive (there isn’t.) Perhaps you even asked me yourself. The simple answer is that these pictures are for this gallery. It is an art project. It is an experience. It is an experiment. In some ways this project isn’t ‘for’ anything. It isn’t against anything either. These pictures exist without politics, opinion or vitriol. The photographs are anonymous, yet they each completely individual and human. I think it humanizes us. It is the inverse of the internet’s faceless commentators. In an ever more divisive world, these photos quietly bring hundreds of strangers together.
Why this project?
Because, in my wife’s words, “Everyone is amazing!”
How should I view it?
A lot of people enjoy looking at the faces, one after the other. I suggest that. It is strangely calming.
How do you choose who to photograph?
I sometimes pick people because they look interesting. I sometimes pick people because they don’t look like anyone I’ve photographed yet. I sometimes pick people because they look ordinary. I often I pick people who are in or near good light. I probably have a bias for people look like they will say yes.
How do you choose who not to photograph?
I try not to photograph people who are on their phones, laptops or who are eating. I try not to photograph people in harsh sunlight. I try not to stop people who are scowling, look upset, angry, or ready to hurt someone — especially if it is me. I rarely stop people who look hurried, but sometimes I do because some days everyone looks hurried.
Do you ask people to smile?
Never. People often ask me if they should smile. I tell them they can if they would like. People usually choose to smile. It is up to them.
Do you ask people to take off their sunglasses?
No, but I’m sure my tone sometimes conveys my preference to see people’s eyes.
Do you ask people to take off their hats?
If the hat is messing up the light, then yes.
How often do people say yes?
Approximately half the time, though some days people seem more willing to be photographed than others. The other day only 2 people said ‘no.’ That was great!
I’m in your gallery and want a copy of my photo!
Fantastic! I’m happy to e-mail you your photo as long as I can be reasonable sure you are the person I took a photo of. Please contact me by e-mailing me at 1000faces at momphoto.com
I’m in your gallery and I don’t want to be there anymore.
Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that. I can remove your photo as long as I can be reasonable sure you are the person in the photo. Please contact me by e-mailing me at 1000faces at momphoto.com.
You took my photo and I’m not in the gallery?
Sorry! That is totally my fault. I try to do these photos quickly in order to not disrupt people too much. Unfortunately that sometimes means something goes wrong. Usually its the focus. Sometimes I catch people mid blink. Occasionally the light doesn’t flatter a particular face and I don’t want to post a picture that doesn’t do justice.
How can I license one or more of the images in your gallery.
Sorry, I do not have releases for these photographs. I was given verbal permission and never suggested they would be made available for sale or distribution beyond this project. If you need a certain image, or a set of images, you can always contract with me.
How can I be in the gallery?
Luck. If you pass me on the street and I ask to take your picture, you will be in the gallery.
Is there some way I can get you to take my portrait?
Actually, I’d love to take your photograph! I am available for portrait work and I will work with you to give you a good rate just because you’ve read through this whole page.