Despite the fact that one of the things that first jumped out at me about Jez was the splash of colour he always boasts on his head, I have nonetheless decided to post this in Black & White so that everyone sees it exactly the way that Jez does. For the record – his beanie is bright blue!
Jez works just down the road from my office and I regularly see him but have never spoken to him although it has been in my mind to photograph him for this project for longer than I care to admit (although I’m about to) and in fact it goes back further than my #1 but until fairly recently it has nagged at me that if he says “no, don’t be weird” then I still have to walk past him regularly for the foreseeable future. Some time ago I overcame that but other factors have got in the way: weather, time, he was talking to someone else etc etc. Until today … weather was good, I was on the way out for lunch so had plenty of time and he was sat on his own puffing away as normal!
After the usual question, which received a positive answer but with a “why” tagged on, I gave him my card and explained about the project and he was quite happy with that. I chatted to him for a bit before taking any photos and afterwards and even had the wherewithal to take another couple specifically because the sun popped behind a cloud.
Jez works for Le Prevo Ltd, a small leather merchants in a back street of Newcastle – quite unassuming and quite small (4-5 employees) but you have almost certainly seen their work. I couldn’t quite believe it as Jez was telling me this but this little shop has supplied props to some of the biggest Hollywood films around – it all started with Gladiators (yes, the Russell Crowe one) and spiralled from there taking in blockbusters like Pirates of the Caribbean, the Harry Potter films plus many others. Read all about it in Newcastle’s local rag here.
Jez’s job is just part of his overall lifestyle though – he also has his own business supplying leather goods to role playing events and such like as well as making special effects and as if that isn’t enough he is also a professional storyteller – Tall Tales and Short Stories. He works with burlesque performers (now there’s a photo opportunity) through to schoolkids – does it get any more diverse than that?
This lifestyle keeps him busy and he reeled off his itinerary for the next few days and it was sufficiently busy that he’d lost me by the time he reached Penrith on Saturday. His girlfriend is very supportive though but less enthused about some of the movie work which can be very demanding as these jobs can last 3 months and involve 18 hour days. Still, not so bad when you love your job I guess!
Whilst probing for anything he wanted me to write we got onto the subject of music and what he likes and he reported anything involving natural instruments … plus other stuff not involving natural instruments ;). I settled for the following fact though … he loves painting but sees entirely in black, white & grey as he has achromatic colour blindness. With a smile and a laugh he says that he buys a lot of labelled paint ;).
Other than the usual thanks our meeting finished with a simple question “Is it fair to say that you enjoy life?” – I don’t think I need to tell you the answer.
Jez, thanks very much for helping me with my project – it was a real pleasure and one of those encounters that make a mockery of my sometimes shy & retiring approach to this project.
This picture is #20 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