Stranger 08/100 – Micaela

I photographed my eighth stranger on my last morning in Paso Robles.

My wife and I stopped at a coffee shop — the same place I met Mateo, stranger No. 7 — to catch up on some work before our drive back to San Francisco. I had no plans to shoot any portraits, but when Micaela walked in my plans changed.

Micaela had the look of a woman who one day might attact paparazzi. From her Afro down to her cowboy boots, her vibe was sophisticated and cool. She was with a well-dressed man and they ordered their coffees to go; I leaned over and told my wife I would be disappearing for a few minutes.

Outside, I approached with my usual spiel. Micaela turned to the man and said, “Do you think my agent will mind?” The pair said they were visiting Paso Robles from Los Angeles on a wine-buying trip, and that Micaela had recently started working as a commercial model. They agreed to give me a few minutes, so we strolled into an alleyway off the main street in search of a location.

Right away we found a whitewashed brick wall. Without a word from me, Micaela leaned against the brick, kicked back a leg, and struck a magazine-worthy pose. With each click of the shutter, Micaela gave me more magic. After a couple dozen frames, we decided to take advantage of a beautiful blue 1970s Monte Carlo that happened to be parked in the alley. We shot a dozen more, traded emails and small talk, then went our separate ways.

There were several strong images from the shoot, and I had a hard time making a final selection. In the end, I chose this one for Micaela’s penetrating expression and confident pose.