I first spotted Zat browsing in a shop I can’t mention until after Mrs H&C’s birthday on Sunday but I was in full-on present shopping mode at the time and running out of time so I let a clear opportunity pass. A while later though I spotted Zat coming out of another shop and no longer able to resist I pounced on him just before he dived into the next shop …
… yeah sure, but keep it short … and not embarassing!!! OK – I can do that (well the quick bit anyway) – although it did mean that I ended up taking the photo exactly where we stood despite the HUGE window with loads of natural light streaming in no more than 20 metres away so I took the shot at f/1.8 to ensure the busy background was thrown completely out of focus. Zat moved about quite a bit not knowing where to look and I couldn’t get him to angle his head away but still maintain eye contact and every time the eyes came back to me so did his head and there was one occasion when he was looking to his right then just as I was about to take the shot he stepped to his right and looked to his left instead. Eventually I got a shot that showed off the mohican although it lacked the eye contact I was after. Nonetheless I was keen to talk to Zat as well so I put my camera away after checking the last shot was sharp and started to ask him a little about himself.
Zat is a window cleaner from Sunderland named after Emil Zátopek – a very famous Czechoslovakian runner that I had to confess to never having heard of … although I obviously should have!
Pretty much the next thing that I learned is that Zat and his partner (wife/girlfriend – I don’t know) were out shopping for her birthday today but at the moment they were looking for new running shoes for him as he has recently started running again after a long absence.
I also learned that they go to Thailand for a holiday every year – and whilst he rarely gets asked for a photograph in Newcastle it happens all the time on holiday.
They are in fact just back from Thailand and learned about a dog sanctuary Soi Dog that they have volunteered to raise funds for (by running).
Conscious that he didn’t want to take too long over the photo I asked two final questions:
When I first spotted Zat I was struck that he had F*** the System emblazoned across his back – I have little doubt that is a very rare occurrence in the shop we were in at the time. I enquired if that was a band or a motto and learned that it is an album by The Exploited – but he does agree with it as a sentiment as well. It was easy to agree that the world is quite beyond repair at the moment – at least the supposedly developed part of it anyway!
Secondly, and many of you know the score by now, so my final question won’t come as a shock …
… the maddest thing he has ever done is hung from the top of the Eiffel Tower!!! Oddly his partner didn’t seem impressed by this pointing out that there was still a platform beneath him. "50 feet below" he countered! Nonetheless …
… the absolutely maddest thing that he has ever done is surf naked on top of a van racing through a Polish forest! Both seemed in agreement that that was pretty mad ;). I agreed ;).
During the maddest thing answer I learned that he used to be in a band called Snarling Horses which I Googled to have a listen to, which then led me to his next band Holy Racket which then led me to quite a cool wee anecdote …
Was that the lad out the Snarling Horses?
I found a tape of them round my father in laws, thought it was a bit odd amongst his roy orbison and status quo. Turns out Zat(?) was his window cleaner and used to hand out tapes to his punters.:lol:
Zat,smashing lad,still does the windows,not sure mind.
… that made me smile – great initiative.
Zat, it was great meeting you today, you don’t have the tallest mohican in my project but it certainly holds it’s own in style! Hope you had a great day with your missus and good luck with the fund raising!
Please feel free to provide constructive critique on the technical aspects of this photograph.
This picture is #87 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