Ian Taylor: The “Excuse Me” Project

Memorialising the brief interactions we have throughout our lives by asking complete strangers I meet on the street to take part. Excuse me. Can I take your picture? What’s your name? What do you do for a living? Where are you from? The simple premise of a project.

I’ve often thought about the fleeting interactions we have with other people. It could be a quick comment about something you’re both doing or maybe a delivery driver dropping off a parcel or maybe just a conversation with a stranger as you’re waiting for a bus. I wonder if they remember it – maybe, maybe not – will it impact their lives – maybe, maybe not – will they even register that it’s a noteworthy event – maybe, maybe not. But maybe it will. Maybe, just maybe that interaction will have more impact than you might think. Maybe it’ll change a strangers point of view, brighten their day or maybe you’re the only person they’ll talk to that day.

People can make a place more interesting. Interacting with people can make their day – or maybe yours.

To generate these brief interactions for this project I walk around, say ‘excuse me’ to complete strangers that I want to photograph, explain what I’m doing and ask if I can take their picture. Sometimes they say yes and sometimes they say no.

If they say yes I take their picture. No real posing or direction just a pure, honest, simple portrait. These people weren’t expecting to be photographed today. There’s an honesty in the way they look. No special preparation for a photo, just a normal day, just a normal person, just a slightly unusual request from a stranger – can I take your photograph?

Hopefully the brief interaction I had with the people who posed for me will be remembered too. A funny story to tell their friends? An eye opener to an artistic project? Who knows but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and thank you to everyone who posed for me.

Ian Taylor: The “Excuse Me” Project


Admission Free

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The North Wall Gallery is open from Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm, and from 12pm – 4pm on Saturdays. Sundays & Bank Holidays: normally closed, except for theatre events.

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