This is Kesfe Kentebay and he is one of my most decisive encounters yet – I spotted him as he was walking towards me and approached him immediately. Previous “decisive encounters” have often involved letting someone walk past then chasing after them but not on this occasion.
I’m trying to think what the right word to describe Kesfe is and I think "dapper" fits – it was the smart red jacket that caught my eye but he had a confident walk as well.
When I asked if I could take his photo I didn’t quite catch what his initial response was but he was still standing in front of me so I handed him my card and launched into my spiel anyway. Again I failed to catch his response so I had to double check that he was OK with the project which he was.
Whilst checking a couple of settings on my camera I discovered that Kesfe works for Greggs (a local chain of bakery stores – Steak Bakes, mmm) and that he was on his lunch break but I didn’t glean anything else including what he does for Greggs. I also realised later that he was having quite a bit of trouble understanding me.
I had a bit of a problem with the light and with hindsight I faced Kesfe the wrong way (trying to avoid acres of washed out sky in the background). I also got my knee wet trying to take some full length shots of him from low down to add a sense of drama! Unfortunately things were cut short somewhat abruptly as a local comedian decided to start making gestures behind Kesfe – not rude or personal but definitely annoying – so I gave up at this point and showed Kesfe the photos that I had taken – the full length ones weren’t looking too good at this point but one of the half body shots looked OK although it would probably need a bit of post-processing to bring out some of the detail. Annoyingly the photo with the best exposure had the comedian’s arm reaching up behind Kesfe and no amount of post-processing was going to sort that!
As we were looking at the images Kesfe explained that his English wasn’t very good and asked me again what the point of the project was and moreover what the photo would be used for and specifically checked that it wasn’t for "anything bad" – thankfully I think that I was able to put his mind at ease in that respect. By the end I knew I had got my point across because he was saying phrases to me that I had not used but that did reflect the spirit of the project – I’m really glad we got there in the end. I also don’t think that Kesfe’s English is poor – I think we were just having a battle of two very different accents ;).
I tried to get a bit more out of Kesfe, taking a lighthearted approach but he wasn’t forthcoming so we shook hands, I thanked him and we went our separate ways.
Kesfe thanks very much for taking time to help me with my project – I hope you have a look and see that everything really was as I explained.
This picture is #31 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