In Black and White, Everyone has a Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi

For Paris based photographer, Constantin Mashinskiy, the idea of creating a collection of portraits came many years ago, when a stranger interrupted his picture taking on the streets of Paris to ask for a cigarette. “Only if you let me take a picture of you,” Constanin replied jokingly.

The stranger agreed, and thus, the idea of 365 Parisiens was born; a street photography blog where a portrait of a Parisian stranger will be posted everyday for 365 days. He is now currently on day 275.

‘It’s completely random, but some days I try to have goals for fun; such as photographing someone who is a specific age, category, or even something minor like a person wearing a hat.’

Constantin’s actual day job is in graphic design and art direction, which often feeds into his photography; using a ‘multidisciplinary approach to aspects of creation,’ he finds inspiration from working across different creative platforms.

We found out more about his project:

The Plus: How do people react when you approach them for a photograph?
Constantin Mashinskiy:
Quite well, most of them are curious and polite even if they refuse to be a part of the project. Some minor incidents have happened, like a businessman who replied “I don’t have money” after I said “Bonjour”, or a lady who thought that I was a paparazzi or something.

TP: Why black & white?
I somehow find that colour is quite distracting and as Ted Grant once said: “When you photograph people in colour, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls”. But I do shot other series in colour also.

TP: What’s next, will you do another 365 project?
Concerning photography, I’m already working on some long-term projects. And for the moment, I’m not sure if I’ll do another 365 set soon, but I’m sure that I will continue to take street portraits quite often.

Check out the project’s Facebook page.