By Jesper Jensen
My name is Jesper Storgaard Jensen. I’m a Danish photographer and journalist. I’ve been living in Rome since 1997. About two years ago I bought a Fujinon X-E2 camera together with the 35mm 1.4 lens. Until then I had been used to carry around a much heavier DSLR camera with equally heavy lenses. So when I first started to use this combination – Fuji camera and 35mm lens – I was really surprised about the quality of the photos that came out. The lens is famous for its very smooth bokeh and when you see the photos it produces you’ll immediately understand why it has this fame.
The lens only weighs 187 gram – the title of my project - so it very easy to carry it with you for an everyday use, for example when you walk. And I walk. A lot. Mainly through the streets of Rome from my home to the place where I work. And as I walk I like to spot strangers with interesting faces to ask them if I can make a portrait of them. It’s a fantastic exercise. I only use natural light, and you actually learn a lot about lightning. You learn how to interpret the available light. You slowly find out how the light “behaves” in a variety of situations.
But that’s not the only thing. Because photography – especially the kind of photography where you decide to approach strangers – is also psychology. In fact, doing street portraits of strangers that you have never met before is a psychological challenge. The first 5-8 seconds of your approach are the most important. This is the time range in which you have to convince the subject that he or she should accept to have his/hers portrait taken.
You have to be polite, have a good and natural eye contact, shortly explain why you would like to photograph the person, perhaps even compliment on the persons aspect (for example hair color), but always in a natural and sincere way. Being a 35 mm lens I have done 35 portraits in the project. Before I started the project I wanted to add as many nationalities as possible. In fact, in the 15 chosen portraits there are people from Chile, UK, Italy, Finland, Germany, Spain and China.
All photos are of unknown persons I have met on the streets of these Italian cities: Rome, Bosa and Altamura.
To view Jesper's entire project, please click on the following link: