I Heart Strangers
March 25, 2010 11:42 PM   Subscribe

"she talked to me for a long time. she shared stories of staying in london and paris and that wonderful feeling that accompanies being there. she talked of gardening and music and even stress. we hit it off like old friends." .... Joshua Langlais spends a couple of hours every day looking for a stranger to talk with and photograph. He's done this every day since September 8, 2008. The results of his work can be seen at I ♥ Strangers.

Over the past year and a half, he seems to have met some very interesting people! His story was featured tonight on a local Denver news station (with video).
posted by bdragon (20 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
OMG what about Stranger Danger? Someone sure is getting grounded when they get home.
posted by gomichild at 12:42 AM on March 26, 2010

"Miserable being must find more miserable being," Lady and the Tramp via . . .
posted by emhutchinson at 12:45 AM on March 26, 2010

I dont like his prose style or his photographs.
posted by the cuban at 12:46 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I found this disappointing. Full of potential but poorly executed. ..meh
posted by thankyouforyourconsideration at 1:02 AM on March 26, 2010

An Attic Philosopher in Paris — Complete by Émile Souvestre

I found a beautiful hundred year old translation of this, it's a very touching story about a man who valued above all else the random interactions of the street. Or else he's some loser who turned down a promotion at the Post Office. But he tells about his interactions in a very sweet way.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:49 AM on March 26, 2010

BY story, I mean memoir, or at least I think so.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:50 AM on March 26, 2010

Here's the direct html.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:54 AM on March 26, 2010

down with capitalisation it seems..

otherwise tl;dr
posted by mary8nne at 3:30 AM on March 26, 2010

Awesome, thanks for posting this!
posted by cronholio at 3:34 AM on March 26, 2010

The concept is nice, and I think most of us would have better lives if we made more of an effort to connect with some of the strangers we pass every day, even if it's just a 'Hi, how are you?'.

But the mixing-in of his own opinions - not to mention all the little details of his own life - into everything he writes about these people irritates me. While a good documentarist would be careful to let the subjects speak for themselves, he insists on giving us the benefit of his own thoughts about each person, as if he's writing a story where he's the main character. Which is not to say that injecting one's own personality into these things is necessarily bad, just that he does it far too much.

and writing sentences with no capital letter at the beginning is just twee and silly why doesnt he just drop all punctuation and have done with it
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 4:27 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seriously, if you can't be bothered to capitalize your sentences properly, I can't be bothered to read them.
posted by Jawn at 4:45 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm thinking about undertaking my own 100 strangers project, which was suggested on the green a few weeks ago. I liked Langlais' site, but I agree that there is a bit too much editorializing. And while we're at it, the set ups are all the same--just a shallow portrait and then a full length. I'm certain that that's what he's going for--i.e., standardizing the images--and that there are inherent limitations in getting a stranger to pose for you, but all the same, I'd like more variety.

The real skill here is connecting with people--which he must be great at.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 4:53 AM on March 26, 2010

I don't know if this means anything, but he interviews about three times as many women as men.
posted by Dmenet at 7:36 AM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

It seems that no-caps is as annoying as all-caps.
posted by HumanComplex at 7:46 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I began skimming some of the posts and reflexively closed the browser window when I read "i road my bike to work in the snow..."
posted by usonian at 7:54 AM on March 26, 2010

Yeah, the all-lower-case-thing is annoying; but wow.

I gotta say - speaking as a life-long introvert here - that it never occurred to me that a project like this was even possible.

I mean, with the exception of my close friends and my family, I get exhausted talking to people I already know.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 8:05 AM on March 26, 2010

I don't know if this means anything, but he interviews about three times as many women as men.

I’m kind of surprised by this-I’d assume it would be easier for him to get men to talk to a stranger. I’d love to be more open with strangers, but wince whenever a guy asks me for the time because there’s an 80% chance that he’s going to follow it up by asking if I have a boyfriend (and I’m not even particularly attractive). Maybe it’s because women are more used to being approached by strange men?
posted by dinty_moore at 8:27 AM on March 26, 2010

I'm really enjoying this; thanks for posting.
posted by lholladay at 9:05 AM on March 26, 2010

Also, regarding the gender disparity:

some of you may be curious as to why i have been photographing so many women lately. i am not lonely or struggling with any deep-rooted issues, but rather just trying to even up the gender numbers as i near the midway for year two. i tend to find more men to participate in this project. i don't know if that is because there are actually more men around or if fewer women say yes. i would have to do an extensive study to figure that out, but i will leave that for someone else to look into.
posted by lholladay at 9:44 AM on March 26, 2010

I love the concept, although the content of a lot of the interviews come across as pastoral ("everybody's NICE"). I'm ambivalent about his editorializing/personal style. On the one hand, this could have been a drier, reportage-style profile of a person, with a few direct quotations to give a taste of that person's discursive style. On the other hand, this could've been a rich archive of the micro-social transactions that happen in conversation with strangers. In the latter case, his own perceptions, feelings, and actions could've been part of this, but he would've had to include a lot more detail and direct quotations from their conversation. Some details about gestures, facial expressions, bodily posture, etc would've helped too. In any case, this doesn't really work as either category.
posted by LMGM at 10:58 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

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