Earlier today I set out thinking it was about time that I started to work on the demographics of my 100 Strangers project which is rather heavily weighted towards people (much) younger than myself. That became laughable as I then found myself photographing a sixth former.
Minutes later though, Tim addressed those demographics a bit and moreover rocketed himself to the top of my project in terms of ‘interestingness’. For one thing he posed and larked about whilst I was trying to take his photograph and we also talked for easily 15 minutes – mostly about Newcastle and photography (personally I could have talked for longer but I’d already used up my hour for lunch pretty much when I first spoke to him).
When I first asked Tim if I could photograph him I think his answer was along the lines of “Who? ME? Why?” – easily the most incredulous response I’ve ever had but I could immediately sense this was going to be a good encounter because he sounded intrigued rather than suspicious. Moreover, as I was explaining about the project he stepped back and took a photo of me – he didn’t ask he just did it – “good response” I commented ;). And that was it – he said yes and off I went, snapping away.
After a very brief spell of posing normally, Tim then started larking about, putting on expressions, tilting his head, pointing, raising his eyebrows etc and the end result is I ended up with several photos unable to decide which one to use – ultimately I went for the straight pose because it was the one that I liked best but I couldn’t not include a selection of the others in the comments – they all work together to sum up the encounter.
Tim is also on Flickr (one of 3 Hairy Hippy’s) and he got his first camera when he was 6 – a Brownie 127 which he still has. He doesn’t recall taking his very first photo but he does believe that he knows which one it is – a photograph of his Dad walking along the beach at Barrow-in-Furness – and he confirms proudly that it WAS in focus! He had a 35 year old Pentax draped around his neck and he also has an Olympus DSLR – I wish I’d asked him how many cameras he owns and looking at one of his Flickr sets I suspect that it is a fair number.
Tim likes to photograph people and architecture but he was out today photographing some new electric hybrid buses and at this point I learned that he is a bus driver and was photographing them largely out of occupational interest – looking through his Flickr stream he has very varied photographic interests suggesting that his love is quite simply with photography itself.
Tim is from London originally but moved to Newcastle in the 70s and can’t see himself ever leaving – we talked a lot about Newcastle and how the area around us had changed, some of which I remembered and some of which was before my time.
Ironically after a recent comment I made about not doing much PP for this project I did end up adding a bit of fill light in PS to bring out the detail of his beard. Had I had a reflector with me I have little doubt that Tim would have embraced it – 110 cm or not!
Tim, thank you very much for your time today and for taking part in my project – you were a lot of fun and I enjoyed our encounter immensely.
This picture is #17 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page