Looking for Work
First, let me tell you that it's tough to blog every day! I definitely have the images, and the ideas, but before you know it an hour (or two) is gone in the telling of the story and everything else I meant to do gets allotted slightly more time. Not that I mind. But I hope that I have some faithful readers out there (I know I have a few) and I'm not just doing this for me : ) soooo, on that note, would love to "hear" your comments and feedback. Always and forever.
Now, to the story of this image (and back to the intent of these first posts of the new year being about my favorites). This one was taken in a small cafe bar in Utrecht, Holland two summers ago. I was visiting my friend, Canci, who I have known since high school. She and I had just spent an hour or so walking around the downtown area in miserable weather (gray, drizzle, certainly not conducive to photography) and though my camera was in hand, I took very few photos. Canci suggested we adjourn to a local cafe beneath the Dom tower and have a drink. A grand idea I thought. So we settled into the crowded cafe at a table near the middle. I packed my camera away in my bag and was just settling in to a nice pink beer (yes, really...very refreshing) when I saw him. Straight ahead (about 125 feet or so) sitting alone at a table with the large picture windows at his back. And I got all goose bumpy. This was A Moment, capital "M". The absolute amazing window light. The ash trail from his cigarette. The curling smoke. The slight despair in his bent head as he perused the paper. The half drunk cup of tea. Slowly, sooooo slowly, I drew my camera from my bag and switched lenses (to my 70-300). Must not attract attention. Must stay covert. Conversation around me faded, I was no longer listening. I hoped Canci didn't notice, or care, that I had entered the quiet zone. It was also the nervous zone. What if he looked up? What if he got up? What was I doing? Hand held, in a shadowy bar, with a not very fast lens, I took the shot. And again. And again. Hoping hoping hoping that they would (be clear convey the moment capture the essence) come out. I took one quick peek at the display, zoomed in to be sure I had at least one sharp image, and tucked the camera away.
I became aware again of my surroundings, the chatter, the yeasty smell of beer. The Moment was gone. But I had caught it. The title of this image is Looking for Work. I have no idea if he really was, or if he ever noticed me taking the photos. He is an unnamed man in a bar whose name I cannot remember. But to me, he is the essence of the last two years of economic crisis (because, yeah, I really think it is) we've been experiencing. He is the poster child for how many Americans feel. Harried. A little desperate maybe. Seeking but not finding. Hoping but being afraid to hope. Do I feel bad about taking the photo and not getting permission first? Truthfully, a little. Maybe not as much as I should. Not sure if that makes me a bad photographer or just an honest one. But that's another blog for another time.