Fruit for Foto Fun...

Gordon @ Convergent AV

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So a couple of years ago I started the Inspitation and learning portrait thread...and around the same time I embarked on a 100 strangers project. I think I got to around 3 or 4 strangers, one of whom was Holowlegs (so probably shouldn't have counted). The idea with the 100 strangers flickr group is that it forces you to speak to random folk you have never met before, rather than creating outstanding portraits.

For those of you who have met me it might come as a surprise to find out I am actually pretty shy when it comes to approaching and speaking to folk I have never met. So it didn't surprise me that the 100 strangers thing died a death, even although the folk I did speak to I found immensely interesting. About a year ago I saw this video on youtube

YouTube - Street Portrait Photo How To

It sort of inspired me. Then 6 months ago I saw another blog post that I can no longer find about a photographer who bribed folk with sweets to sit for street portraits. Now last year we moved house and the estate we are in just now was built in the late 40's/early 50's on land that was an orchard. Some of the houses have fruit trees in them (ours being one). So we have an abundance of fruit we cannot possibly use. I have been leaving boxes of apples and plums outside the front of house for passers by to take but decided to put it to better use this weekend. I posted this on twitter and facebook

YouTube - What to do on a bank holiday sunday

I recorded this piece to camera before I actually did the maths to work out how long it would take to find and photograph 100 people. So when I and my assistant arrived in Guildford High Street I had revised the figure down to 50. we set up in a shaded passage way between the High St and a street that heads up towards Guildford Castle. If you know Guildford it's where the big flower stall usually is beside Tunsgate. It allowed a nice flat even soft light and space to work plus lots of passers by to try to nab. I even drew some lovely hand made signs to tape to walls.

My friend Mark and I set everything up. The plan was to take portraits with the medium format film camera and my iPhone. We put the film camera on a tripod and marked the ground for where folk should stand and also where the tripod legs should go in case I needed to move it. Fruit was laid out along with notebook for names and details etc. Mark took some behind the scenes shots. All set by around 10.45-11.00 am we started in anger.


my plums

First 5 folk we asked all said no. Every one seemed to think we were trying to sell something or that there was some con on. Our offer of free fruit if they sat for a portrait wasn't working. So we changed the signs and our spiel. Instead of offering free fruit we decided to actually explain that it was a photo project and that we were trying to take as many portraits in a day as we could, asking if folk would then take the 60 seconds to do it. If they agreed we'd offer them some fruit from the boxes as a thank you as well as a copy of the final image.

Here is the first person to stop. His name is Dennis.

Mark headed off after the firs three folk were done to collect another of my friends, Miko, who had come out from London to help. I hoped a girl might stop folk from being too paranoid....but it didn't seem to matter. Most folk didn't even want the fruit, or the pictures, they just were happy to help out. Many, many more were not interested at all and continued to be baffled. The more folk we got involved the more folk wanted to be involved. So we had moments where there was a small queue but then periods of 20 minutes where nothing was doing. The long periods tended to be after some weird knock backs where the wind was kicked out of our sails. Possibly the strangest was a couple who wanted a photo of their little girl with mum, I took a several with the film camera in the hope of getting one good one, then when we offered to send her the image once it was developed she said she didn't want it, much to the dismay of her husband...I suggested she just email me and I'd send her the file and she replied that she didn't know who any of us were and she didn't want us to have photo's of her and her daughter and also knowing her email address (paranoia or what....) I think Miko managed to talk her in to sending from an anonymous email address to get the image. They were a lovely family so I hope those shots come out.

We had another chap who couldn't understand that I was just taking portraits for fun and to get better at it. He was sure that we must be wanting to sell the shots or use them for some ulterior purpose. His reasoning was that he did drawing in his spare time and he could understand taking a photo to then draw it but not just to take a photo. I guess he never just draws for fun or practices.......anyway after I promised him that I would not sell his image or use it for foul means without asking him first he agreed. I was quite surprised he did in the end. I think in future I wouldn't try so hard to get someone to sit as by that point he wasn't really in to it and neither was I. I was however very grateful to him for taking time out to sit for me.

Here is another chap I saw walking down the high street who I pursued to get his picture. He was great and he was happy to take away some free fruit.


In all we took portraits of 29 people and a dog during the 2.5hrs we did this. In the end we stopped as I was starting to get concerned about whether the film was going to come out (my light meter and my 5d's light meter were not agreeing) and it was lunchtime. I promised many folk I wouldn't do anything with their images and some of them were family groups so you wont see those shots. As folk get in touch with me I'll ask them if they'll let me put the shots up for you to see though.

Just before I started the shoot it occurred to me that folk would probably be more comfortable in front of the iPhone and more stiff and formal looking down the lens of the medium format camera, resulting in different sorts of images....we'll see once the film comes back!
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Active Member
Good idea and effort, I hope it all works out for you.

I had to do a double take on picture 1, I thought it was Des Lynam.


Distinguished Member
Very nice idea Gordon, i always admire the ideas and application that you put into your photographs, Dennis looks like a true British Gent, very dapper.:smashin:

On another subject i always remember your first capture a stranger, i think the guys name in that photograph was called Ashley, very sad and poignant
photograph along with his story, i often wonder what happened to him, i sincerely hope life has improved for him.

Thanks for reminding me of him:thumbsup:


Well-known Member
Funnily enough, was going to say the same as Bodo - you certainly put effort into your photography, and setting yourself projects really seems to pay dividends. It's inspirational to see what you do and the end results.

Makes me think that I should think about my own photography to a greater degree.

Great photos as well, and I like the approach you took with the fruit. Not sure I'd have the bottle to do that myself.

Gordon @ Convergent AV

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
a few behind the scenes taken by Miko.

The two Mexican girls just couldn't get their heads around the fact I would give them a picture free...they were lovely but just wouldn't do it. The others are a family group, mother, daughters and grandaughter... and the chap with the dog was fantastic. He really wanted a portrait with his dog. My friend Mark chatted to him after his portrait for an age as he has a similar dog...and the chap came back later to say how great my plums were.....:rotfl:


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Well-known Member
Well done for giving this a go Gordon. I've done something similar to this and it is amazing how nice some people are and equally how rude others can be too! Love the one of Des! It would be even better with a tiny amount of flash to light up his eyes.

Looking forward to seeing how your film shots come out.

Oh and I think your plums looks delicious. Which is something I thought I'd never say to you!


Distinguished Member
Love it! Great idea, very inspirational, makes me want to do something similar...(if only i had z'balls! :blush:) I can't believe you had people queuing! :D

I guess a lot of people say no as every high street is full of someone somewhere trying to sell something, and its these people we all do our best to avoid!

Did you get any problems from the local 'yoof'? Any particular reason you chose film?

Gordon @ Convergent AV

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AVForums Sponsor
Why is my face sad? Well I never realised it was at the time...this was taken after about 5 minuets of perpetual smiling and cajoling....I was kind of exasperated at the end.....this was just before we headed to pub....they were still super smiley and happy so it just looks like Miko caught me in a brief state of exasperation.....

KBM....Thanks completely get the avoiding folk in street thing...I am the same...that's why I was nice to folk rather than scowling at them if they said no. Yes we had some potential issues...Mark went to ask some youths to take part but he only realised they were ****** when he noticed they had cans of beer in their hands when he got close by....and they became beligerent.....but they left after 10 minutes...
why film...well I'll answer that tomorrow
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Distinguished Member
Well done for giving this a go Gordon. I've done something similar to this and it is amazing how nice some people are and equally how rude others can be too! Love the one of Des! It would be even better with a tiny amount of flash to light up his eyes.

.Oh and I think your plums looks delicious. Which is something I thought I'd never say to you!
You could have kept that to yourself!:rotfl:

absolutely great idea Gordon... love the shot of the first chap.....

Totally agree, and well done
Wish I could find the time.
What this shows is that nothing pushes you more than a " project"


much interesting thread .. i missed .. its cool to see much type!! & less fotos (i know foto share thread but ..) the second foto is cool, diverse characters make this world so fab .. also guys often appear much more appealing in fotos, their face can so fascinating compare to female (like this guy above) .. his blemish/cuts/tattoo face .. you would never find @ female


Well-known Member
I missed this thread first time round too. Great read Gordon. Just wonder how much the good old English reserve has to do with people's stand-off ishness. Would be interesting to see how the 'experiment' would go in somewhere like Covent Garden.

Gordon @ Convergent AV

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Well the prints and negs arrived this afternoon while I was out. Of the 36 exposures all seem to have been exposed ok but several are out of focus. Some are also just crap (i chose wrong moment to snap shutter). However, there are probably 10 or more good shots and probably 5 or 6 that I'd say are really good...or at least good for me. I now need to get them scanned...


Great idea Gordon - love the story details and look forward to seeing some more shots (but not of your plums) :D


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