As often happens whilst walking along Newcastle’s Northumberland Street I was approached by one of the charity workers. On this occasion it was for Marie Curie and I gave my usual spiel that I contribute every month and that normally concludes the meeting other than a “Thank you” from the volunteer but on this occasion Matt started chatting so I stopped and talked for a bit.
After a while I decided that Matt would be a good stranger so I asked if I could take his photograph and paused for a few seconds enjoying the rather shocked expression before I explained why – to which he readily agreed.
I chatted a bit more and learned that Matt has only just started collecting for Marie Curie and has only been in the area for 3 weeks. He used to live in London with his girlfriend but got evicted when his landlord decided he wanted the flat back and gave them a somewhat unceremonious ultimatum to get out and take their stuff with them or lose it. So they moved up to the North East as his girlfriend is from Durham.
This also brings him closer to his football team, Newcastle United, and as a Toon supporter myself I can’t resist mentioning that the first live game he attended was last season’s 5-1 thrashing of local rivals Sunderland – it doesn’t get much better than that (although 5-0 would have been nice). He has also watched them play Manchester United and if that was this season’s 3-0 thrashing of the Premiership Champions then I would highly recommend that the club sends him a season ticket for life.
Matt has obviously done a fair amount of charity collecting and is quite accustomed to marching up to strangers and talking to them and after the first time of being told to **** off he can shrug it off quite easily – something we would perhaps all like to be able to do but it’s not that easy (not that I’ve ever received a rebuke as offensive as that). Not so easy to shrug off though … he has been assaulted 3 times so all credit to his continued dedication.
Matt used to be a teacher in a couple of subjects but the conversation veered away from this and much as I would have liked to return to it and learn a bit more I didn’t get the chance.
Sometime in the middle of all this I stepped back and took a couple of straightforward shots – no flash, no difficult light and nice tight framing to keep the background out of it and I was instantly happy with the shots which is good as 3 of my last 4 strangers have involved a degree of bungling.
Matt, thanks very much for taking part in my project – that hospice I mentioned was St Benedict’s not St Mary’s … goodness knows why I had such a mind block – I knew it wasn’t the right name but I couldn’t for the life of me dredge up the correct one!
Please feel free to provide constructive critique on the technical aspects of this photograph.
This picture is #65 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