I saw Matthew and tomorrow’s stranger Katerina in the grounds of Newcastle’s Civic Centre – they were sitting on the grass and a brief tap-tap on his drum is what first caught my attention.
I approached them and, mostly speaking to Matthew because he was the one facing me as I approached, asked if I could take their photograph. “Is it for your own personal use” was the reply to which I replied “sort of” not fully understanding the purpose behind the question (which I now presume simply to be checking whether there was any commercial aspect).
I explained about the project and handed him my card … he immediately pointed at it and said “I know him”! I couldn’t see the front of my card or who he was pointing at but I knew without a shadow of doubt that it would be Jez – which it was and whom Matthew knows through his (Jez’s) storytelling business.
In response to my request for a photograph Matthew said fine for his part but I would need to ask his friend directly – this I would have done anyway and have done very deliberately for every other couple that I have approached.
Roughly at this point I discovered that Katerina and Matthew are strangers to each other and had only met today at a Medieval Fayre. Katerina was looking for some information and help with the craft and Matthew was willing to sit down and help her out. Matthew has been playing medieval instruments for around 10 years if not more and he would love to do more of what he was doing with Katerina … spreading knowledge to others, possibly via a scholarship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. This would involve travelling overseas learning about the craft then bringing his new found knowledge and skills back to the UK to impart on others.
In terms of the photo it was getting darker and since flash was going to be a sensible option I decided to go the whole hog and use off-camera flash – the first time that I have tried this in my project. After I’d taken an initial shot Matthew started drumming again which meant that he was moving about slightly which I always find challenging so I backed off a bit and took the comments shot for a bit of context.
Matthew (and Katerina) thank you very much for your time this evening and for helping me out with my project – I hope that you like the photographs.
This picture is #47 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