Let's talk about shooting strangers. When talking about shooting stranger i'm not referring to taking candid photos, though dilemmas in these field exists in a different way, but rather on approaching someone asking them to take their photo. If you have done this before, you probably know those little questions i'm gonna talk about here. Is there a difference answering those question when you are a tourist or a stranger than when you are local?
Approach or don't Approach?
The first decision that you do. You saw an interesting person. He/She has that special look or eyes or a storry-telling face that you feel like will made a good photograph. But then what. You become a bit shy, not sure about whether they will be happy to be photographed or just snub you away. Although most of the time, this is not a real fear (what's the worst thing that could happen?) it still happens, to me at least. It took my (and sometime still) a lot of time to get over that. Living in a foreign country actually helps me in that. In the small Israel, people tend to have lack of patience and are more direct in their responses generally. Or is it just an excuse?
Being a foreigner gives me that feeling that I can approach people without that hesitation (or at least less of it). Maybe it's that feeling that a people tend to be nicer or polite to tourists. One way or another I personally feel a lot more comfortable approaching strangers in NYC than in Tel Aviv.
Talk About it
Once you have approached and asked, and that person is kind enough to agree getting photographed, they will start to pose. Obviously that is not what you are looking for. A good photograph will be the one where you framed a good moment that looks much more natural than posed. The technique I learned for the amazing photographer Oded Wagenstein suggest that you just keep taking photos until that person is getting used to that and act more naturally. What I do in that time is usually talk to that person about who are they, how long they hang around the store/market/area, what do they do in their life etc. That process too also feels more natural for me when I am a stranger. Maybe again it is the inner feeling of having the "right" to ask those questions when you are a "curious tourist". Or maybe again it's just an excuse.
What do you think about it? Do you have your own technique? Do you share the same hesitations with me or do you feel the same difference between being a local photographer and a tourist? Will be happy to hear some experiences and ideas.