Many months ago I passed a couple of performers, one on drums and one on bagpipes and they were very good and extremely animated, clearly reveling in their music. Having interrupted street performers a couple of times in the past though I decided not to do so again and took that approach on several more occasions when I saw the pair of them. Today however I saw the piper on his own and he hadn’t started yet so without any further ado …
… I approached Jay and asked his permission to take his photo, explained about the project and Jay happily agreed and was familiar with Flickr, explaining that he was "already all over it".
Jay has been performing with the bagpipes for 25 years and it is purely a passion of his (for his day job he works in the hotel trade). He was encouraged to take up the bagpipes from a young age by his Uncle whose badge he wears proudly on his regimental cap. Jay used to be in the Gordon Highlanders and did tours of Iraq and Northern Ireland. The regiment has since been disbanded but before this happened Jay performed with them at the Queen Mother’s funeral and is clearly very proud of this honour.
Feeling lucky I fired off my "maddest thing …" question and he replied that he once attended a gig where he had to change in the back of a wet fish van … nice!
When I was photographing Jay he looked off to the side but I asked for some eye contact at which point he turned directly towards me and opened his eyes wide – I missed the shot and got a sleepy eyes half closed shot instead which I will not be sharing. Jay played around with his eyes a bit more whilst I was photographing him and I seemed to end up with a mix where the eyes are slightly wide or partially closed and the shot I used is one of the "wider eyed" poses. I asked permission to post a full length performance shot as well but my focus was a bit off in that but I don’t think that I could not include it. The tune that you "see" here is Banjo Breakdown.
Jay, thanks very much for delaying your performance a little to help me with my project. I enjoyed our chat and listened to a couple more songs as well while I wrote down a few notes afterwards (I’m giving away trade secrets now).
Please feel free to provide constructive critique on the technical aspects of this photograph.
This picture is #67 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