Justin Harvey

A Stranger’s Eyes


At the abrasiveMedia gallery, during the November Arts & Music at Wedgewood/Houston, I set up a photo booth for attendees… the caveat was that they had to take 3 picture with a stranger… and they had to stare into each other’s eyes for 30 seconds while that happened. Most attendees found the idea too uncomfortable to participate, but some, either for the love of art or new experiences, did it anyway.

In the end, this experiment gave us a glimpse of our diversity. Some people remained distant, others clasped hands and drew close, some remained silent the entire time, others started conversations, some laughed, others shied away, embarrassed. A few friendships began too – in just 30 seconds, some people found common ground with complete strangers. They kept talking well after the shoot and even traded phone numbers!

At a time when loud polarizing voices are fighting for our attention and telling us how to think about others, it’s critical that we take the time to really get to know each other and find out common grounds. 30 seconds is a great start.

My only regret… in the haste to make this happen I forgot to properly setup the camera, so many of the photos¬†came out blurry.