I’ve stopped hundreds of people and asked to make their photo. If it’s an up-close portrait, I always ask the person if I can take the photo. Often the answer is “no,” but if a photo doesn’t come out of the meeting, it doesn’t make the interaction less important or interesting. Sometimes a great interaction will result in a boring and unengaging photo and sometimes a two-sentence exchange and good-bye will result in a deeply intimate portrait. I can never be 100 percent sure, and sometimes I’ll need a little distance from the exchange in order to know if a portrait is successful.
Zoe Strauss, interviewed by Steve Crist (from Zoe’s book America - published by Ammo Books, 2008)