How to capture photographs of strangers in everyday life

Photographs of people I do not know
It’s getting colder, we know that. I mean it is almost November in the UK but that’s no excuse to not get out in the fresh air and shoot some photography, especially of strangers you have never seen before let alone met. But why the need to take photos of strangers anyway? What’s the fascination?
I guess it comes down to opportunity and serendipity, and being an obsessive photo maker. The fact is random people in random places can provide the most startling photographic opportunities and make great photos. Period. I mean, you only need to check out the work of the guy who started it all back in the day Henri Cartier-Bresson.
I was out and about in a small coastal town called Hythe, which is in Kent and as I came round the corner just off the high street on a back road there was this guy sitting on the wall. You could say there was nothing overtly overwhelming about that, but to a photographer it’s an opportunity to make something interesting.
I was using my street camera the Olympus Pen F with a 17mm M.Zuiko lens which I’ve owned since 2013 and is still relevant today.
Photographs of people I do not know
The late afternoon sun cut through the buildings casting dark shadows behind the figures and darkened the light under the guys baseball cap. This kind of harsh light is a no no for a lot of photographers but for me it’s a blessing in disguise as it adds depth and contrast to scenes especially when shooting black and white photography and for me is a nod towards some of the great film makers of the past including Orsen Welles who made dark films with wide angle lenses, dark, contrasty light and low angles.

There, behind him, attached to the outside of this building were these mythical [Greek] figures all gesturing in one way or another. I sensed an opportunity to photograph this guy with these figures behind him and so moved slowly in his direction not wanting to be noticed. At this point he was staring at the ground whilst sat on the wall, and as I got close enough to frame the shot he lifted his head as he became aware of my presence. I was committed to the shot and took it anyway. I then moved out and to the front of him pretending I was framing up the figures on the wall and he began to get up and move out of my way, not knowing I had already got the shot I wanted. We started a conversation about the figures and he told me he had made them himself as he was a sculptor and enjoyed making them. He mentioned other figures he had done around the town for other people and told me where I could find them if I wanted to go and look. This scenario played out because I had the gall to enter this guys life and create an opportunity from an everyday situation. I actually asked him if I could take a portrait shot of him but he declined saying he was too old. I moved on and he stayed where he was sat on the wall in the sunshine. I had what I wanted but he was now, somehow, a little less of a stranger!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA