Beautiful Stranger

I saw him from a distance. His amber-blonde curls and sun-painted face drew me in. His freckles made him look older than he was, I observed. Australian, I guessed.

He was sitting on a bench, waiting for his friends, I imagined. There was ample space around him, a plain background, and the right sort of shade.

He seemed unhurried, careless. I hesitated. Intimidated. My mind was already talking me out of it. But when I hesitated for a second time, I knew I would have to do it.

Five strangers. Five yeses. That’s all I had asked of myself.

I walked over and asked if I could take his portrait. As soon as I got my reply, I realized, once again, that nobody ever says no to me, they say yes to their insecurities.

And I felt bad. Almost guilty for having asked at all. For he had said no. And saying no is always harder than saying yes.

He would end this day a little weaker. He would regret that no. Doubt that no. He would doubt it in a way that he wouldn’t doubt a yes.

For facing your fears is easier than living with them. I learned that now, once again. Stronger because of it, I was. And so was she, I was sure.

Street portrait of a young woman in Canggu Bali, before Photoshop

Original image

Street portrait of a young woman in Canggu Bali, after

Retouched image1
2018, Bali · Mika Francis2


  1. To edit the above image, I applied the retouching skills as thought in the Skillshare class Photography Masterclass: Learn the secrets of portrait editing. Sliding the arrow from the left border of the photo to the right will reveal the original shot.

  2. Not long after publishing this post, I would bump into this beautiful stranger on the internet. Her name is Mika Francis, and she may not be as shy in front of the camera as I thought she was.