Interview With Amelia Dowd

For her People I’ll Never Meet project of stealthy exposures from behind. Article coming soon.


1. Who are you and who the hell decided to give you a camera?
My name’s Amelia and I got my first camera when I was 10. It was a spice girls polaroid camera. I still have it, and use it.

2. Brilliant idea! Who did you steal it off?
My sister argues it’s hers. It isn’t. I maintain that.

2a: What’s your weapon of choice now, then?
I use, for this project, an old Pentax P30 i got from an opshop. And for this project I only use AGFA colour 400 expired film. Otherwise I shoot Canon DSLR.

Crossing the street

3. When was the last time your camera was smashed by someone who’s caught you out trying to take them from behind?
Never, I’m far too sneaky for that. I come in smooth and gentle, and they like it once I’m done. It’s like I was never there.

4. How do you choose your victims?
I go with my gut feeling. But it helps if they’re interesting somehow from the back (hairdo/backpack/hoodie/eyes in the back of head). Or if I find them attractive and am too shy to say hello. Which is often.

5. What happens when someone sues?
I run to Japan and start all over again. Under a fake name.

6. How many people have you posed for without knowing about it?
Too many. Mostly when drunk. I can only count because I’ve seen the results on facebook.

Old couple

7. Are you a ninja?
If you can count small, nimble and crafty as the defintion of a ninja, then yes, I’m a ninja.

8. You’ve made up silly little stories about each of these people haven’t you?
Sometimes. It helps in the knowledge that I’ll never, ever know them, that I create a little fiction for each. Maybe that helps me pick them, too.

9. Are people more exposed when they’re unaware that they’re subjects?
I think if you’re being followed and photographed without your knowledge, you’re very exposed. Especially if they’re moving.

10. I want to do this. Any tips for the budding strangertographer?
Get up early, or wait for sunset. That’s the best light, and people are tired in the morning and at night. They’re less likely to pay attention to you and there is bigger crowds. And emotion is more heightened because people are impatient and cranky and are trying to get somewhere. Go places you aren’t used to. Scare yourself a bit. Be brave, but most of all, be invisible.



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