“People I didn’t know” – A street portrait project, by Ion Paciu

“The world is full of beauty, but only for those with eyes to see it”!


“The “People I didn’t know” is a street portrait project realised by Ion Paciu which aims to help people discover themselves, to help them realise how beautiful they are, and to remind them of how many beautiful things surround us. We are all busy most of the time; with simple day to day tasks (going to work, shopping, socialising, taking our kids to school, etc) rushing about and forgetting to look around and see the real beauty of this world: our inner selves!

“People I didn’t know” is a self-initiated street portrait project which aims to shed new light on portrait photography. It all began a long time ago when I stopped someone on the street in London and asked them to pose for me. Well, if you live in London, you know it’s the city of no eye contact, where everyone looks straight ahead and strives to keep their private life well, private. I am often walking the streets of London as I teach photography on the Southbank; walking with my camera day and night I have the opportunity to see so many things around me, but the most important thing I see is people. People rushing to work in the morning, people shopping, people hanging around in the markets, taking a walk, dating, begging, jogging, visiting, people old and young, men and women, British or foreign. Portrait photography is hard work and requires establishing a strong relationship with your model in order to achieve the desired expression, to get the mood, to access the soul. It is not an easy job and many times you end up producing hundreds of images just to realise how difficult it is to get the story of a person across.

The images for this street portrait project were made ad-hoc on the street, on the tube, in shops, bars, and train stations using only natural / available light. Only minor adjustments were made in post processing including the black and white conversion.

Every person in these images was, at the time of shooting, a stranger I stopped on the street and asked to pose for me. They are the people I didn’t know. With many of them I kept in touch regularly, and some became my friends. Some of them even became my models and they now pose for my students during my photography courses.

‘People I didn’t know’ street portrait project is a homage to human nature, the art of photography, and a quest to bring together our solitary Londoner souls.

Below you will find 140 images from this street portrait project including their stories.

There are hundreds of images which need to be converted and uploaded. Images are being uploaded on a regular basis so please keep looking.