Saturday, May 17, 2014: Bus Shelter Department
(Click on images to enlarge.)
Except for my year-end wrap-up, I don’t normally write about photography on this blog, but last Wednesday, a thoroughly quotidian experience taught me a little lesson.
Driving home after a lengthy day at work, I couldn’t wait to take a nap. Gorgeous weather though had other plans for me in my sleep deprived state — to sit at the corner bus shelter with a camera in my lap, and surreptitiously photograph the passing scene. With luck, I might catch some interesting gestures or expressions, not unlike the work of several other photographers who regularly visit here.
Fat chance! Not only were there few pedestrians, but getting good street candids just isn’t that easy — especially with a camera whose shutter delay requires a PhD in fortune telling. This was the best I could do:
During a lull in the foot traffic, my attention was drawn to some interesting sidewalk shadows:
A man came by and asked if he could share the bench with me. He was waiting for a business to open across the street and became immediately absorbed in examining his apparently defective cell phone. I shifted over to make room for him and snuck in a few photos as he sat leaning forward. The large ad behind him made a wonderful backdrop with colors that echoed his, silhouetted figures that contrasted sharply with his posture, and dark areas balancing each other. Any moment I expected him to notice my picture taking and request that I either stop or at least ask permission first but both of us remained in our own separate worlds.
More photo possibilities appeared curbside, and I found myself sacrificing dignity to get the shot below of a sewer drain:
When I returned to the shelter bench, I saw that the chin of my African-American companion was edged with the thinnest of white beards. I admired it and asked if he’d mind posing for a portrait. We took a few shots and in the conversation that followed, he told me about his career as a chef, his family, and how he came to live in Beacon. That’s how I got to meet a man with the nickname “Cook.”
The two take-aways for me? (1) With patience, the photo sometimes comes to the photographer, not the other way around; and (2) It isn’t even about the image on occasion.