The RiNo section of Denver is a hip new area full of brewpubs and eateries and lots of hipster types. That’s not why I took my Rolleiflex there, but because the Denver Month of Photography is going on and I wanted to visit some of the galleries with current photography exhibits.
After I parked the car, I stepped out with the Rolleiflex still in hand, no strap, no case. Stepped toward this woman who was painting outside and asked for a portrait. She asked if she should smile. I said, “You don’t have to, just be you.” Here she is.
Then I walked around the neighborhood looking for other connections, people to photograph. I stepped down an alley that’s full of murals and graffiti art and this woman saw the Rolleiflex and responded with a compliment on the camera. So, I asked to make her portrait. She said she’s a photographer so agreed and I asked her to pick her background among all the various murals. She picked the cat. She stood kind of straight and stiff, so I gave her the direction, “Maybe put a hand in your pocket, give me a little sass,” and she went to fix her hair and made this photograph.
Continuing around the corner I saw this couple of photographers, her with a Canon film camera and a sweet 85mm f1.4 and him with his digital mirrorless out on a photo walk. My Rolleiflex was a great introduction, and I used theirs to say hello as well. I asked them to pose and here’s their shot. Shallow depth of field caused focus to fall off a bit on him. I made a point to mention Denver MoP which they weren’t aware of, so that was a good connection between fellow photographers and hopefully they’ll see some of the gallery shows.
Off I went looking to keep shooting the roll, this 10-year expired roll of Kodak Tmax 100, and found this couple of guys sitting on a bench next to the street. Quick request for the photo, they said yes. Fascinated at how easy it was to meet people and get a yes to my portrait request. I was making portrait after portrait, just one frame each.
I continued looking and saw this couple though they were sitting at opposite ends of their table at an outdoor seating area at a brewpub. He had a Sony mirrorless on the table and commented on my Rolleiflex, so I said, “Let’s use it to make your portrait,” and asked her to maybe go sit on his knee. When she looked at him and not at me, I made the shot.
There was one shot left. I headed back down the alley and came upon this group and one of the guys said, “Hey, take my picture,” to which I replied, “I’m on assignment and was sent to photograph you. Get together.” So, they did. This is the last photo on the roll. The camera drew so many people to me, and this group was more than willing to be photographed.
That was my photo walk on Sunday, March 7. A good day. Any day I’m meeting people and having conversations, connecting to other humans, that’s a perfect day. I always say they’re not strangers, but friends I haven’t met yet. Don’t say there isn’t anything to shoot because of the pandemic. This was on a simple walkabout in a popular section of Denver, and if I can find photo subjects to make portraits of, you can too. Though you might need a dandy of a Rolleiflex.
There’s an old line that if you go out in public and make street portraits and you can only quit after you’ve received 10 ‘no’ responses, you’ll be out there all day because you can’t get 10 no’s. I didn’t get a single ‘no’ the whole time I was in RiNo.
I posted some of these on Instagram and had request for prints which I will gladly send. Overall a successful day out and about with the dapper gray-clad Rolleiflex.