Sal Idriss

This was my first job after loafing about on holiday and it was such a nice way to ease back in to work. I was asked to photograph the NPG photographer Sal Idriss doing a street photography workshop with a group of young South Londoners in Trafalgar Square. The project was organised by the brilliant education team at Dulwich Picture Gallery

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The idea was for the boys to approach people, introduce themselves, explain what they were doing and ask if they could take their portrait. Sounded straightforward but I'd forgotten how years of being a photographer had made me really comfortable chatting to strangers (my boyfriend would probably say too comfortable!). For about half an hour there was a lot of shuffling about, a fair bit of mumbling and a then definite lean towards young Italian girls in skintight jeans. Half an hour later after more tips and encouragement from Sal ("Be nice. Nicer than that") they were off and no one was safe. Elderly couples, tourists, policemen, street performers, 'Chinese Harry Potter'. It was amazing to see the difference in them in just a few hours. I haven't laughed so much on a job for years. It was also a good reminder that being a portrait photographer is roughly 90% being able to talk to people and 10% technical skill. I'm sticking to that anyway! 

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