I keep experiencing the same scenario.
I’m out doing things. I’m at the store, school, doctors office – the location varies – and I see someone. They stand out to me for one reason or another. Some times it is because their heritage is apparent. Some times it is because they have a different look that you don’t see often. Some times it is because they look “average” but you get the feeling that they could handle an adventure. The reasons vary.
Each time it happens I have a desire to go ask this random stranger if I can take their picture. Yes, I can just scribble a note down and put it in my idea book, and I do some times. A picture though would be fantastic to help the inspiration process as I string ideas together to create a full concept of a character/story.
The problem? It’s creepy.
I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure it is a social faux pas. I can’t go up and randomly ask someone if I can take their photo*.
At least I can’t be “creepy” yet. One day, when I’m published and have a name for myself (can I be bold and say that? Yeah, I think I can) I just might have the gumption to say “Hey, can I take your photo?” I’ll explain that I’m a writer and tell them what has intrigued me about them. I’ll be prepared for the “no” but I’m pretty sure I’ll get a yes now and then too. I hope that they’ll walk away being buoyed up that some one noticed them. Not in the “oh you’re so thin and sexy and have x, y, and z” kind of way like what you see Hollywood/media focus on. Instead I hope they walk away feeling more confident in themselves simply by being them.
One day I shall do this, and on that day, perhaps it won’t come across as creepy.
*Humans of New York does it, but the intent is different and he can get away with it.