Bob - Street Portrait of a Street Portrait Photographer

by Jamey Firnberg

While walking on River Street in Savannah, Bob Dein saw me taking photos of a girl he assumed was my daughter. It was not my daughter. A little later he saw me approaching a couple offering them the “once in a lifetime opportunity” to have their photo taken by a Rockit Surgeon. The “once in a lifetime opportunity” is the last ditch part of my pitch that comes after the usual two no’s. He witnessed a rejection. It comes with the job.  

Bob approached and asked what I was doing. I explained that I enjoy shooting what I call, “street portraits;” photos of random strangers on the street. He proceeds to explain that he is also a street portrait photographer and shows me some of his work on his phone.

We were both a bit surprised because permission based street portraiture is not a very common photographic genre.

I am familiar with the Humans of New York photographer, but I’ve never actually met another photographer who approaches street portraiture with the same passion that I do. That is, until I met Bob. 

Bob is a retired pathologist from Florida. He started shooting street portraits about 4 years ago after participating in a weeklong street portraiture workshop.

In an email exchange, Bob explained to me that this was so different for him. He says he never was a people person. "It's a kick," he says. His sister left a comment on a blog post, "Who are you, and what have you done with my brother?"

Bob has created a very impressive body of work. His blog,, currently hosts over 900 street portraits. In addition to the portraits, he includes a little background on the shot and each of his subjects. He has inspired me to do the same.

Of course I took Bob’s portrait and he took mine. I am portrait #905.

This is Bob. #rockitportrait