Wanting a change of scene I set off towards Newcastle’s Quayside today hoping to get a stranger with one of the area’s many famous landmarks in the background. Before I descended down to river level though I wandered into an area beside the High Level Bridge that I had never noticed before but as it was wholly uninteresting I immediately came out again.
In this short time though a gentleman of significantly more years than myself had appeared and the word "demographics" popped back into my head again – another chance to invite an "elderly" gentleman to take part in my project – perhaps not as "elderly" as my previous rejections but in the right ballpark. With zero hesitation I walked up to him and asked if I could take his photo. At first he was hesitant and wanted to know why but he patiently listened while I explained and enquired if he had to give his name to which I replied “no, not if you don’t want to” but I was thinking “oh no – is he going to be my first nameless stranger”? Thankfully though he did agree and was OK with giving me his name simply commenting that he is not notorious. So I present to you my third Alex.
Alex asked where I would like him to stand and what a suitable background would be so I asked if he would mind crossing to the other side of the bridge so that I could get the Tyne Bridge in the background and he had no problem with this providing I was finished in the next 26 minutes when his parking meter ran out ( are you listening Becca 😉 ). I almost didn’t make it though as I struggled to deal with the bright back-lighting but eventually by a process of trial and error and a lot of patience on Alex’s part I managed to get a reasonably balanced shot. OK, it probably took me no more than a couple of minutes but I took 9 shots before I was happy that I had something usable.
Alex is from Darlington and was in Newcastle looking up some of its history and as a railway enthusiast he had just visited the (Robert) Stephenson’s Works (the world’s first locomotive factory). When I approached him he was reading an information board presumably about the High Level Bridge and he was about to visit an engineering museum so it sounds like he was having a much more relaxed day than me.
As we parted I became aware for the second time that the card I had shown him was back in my pocket so I ran after him asking if he would like to see the photograph but he said no – whether he’d already memorized all he needed to know or simply wasn’t interested I’m not sure – but I suspect the latter. Just in case you somehow happen across this photograph anyway Alex – thank you very much for taking part in my project and for your continued patience as I wrestled with the light.
This picture is #38 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