I spotted Derek in Newcastle’s Central Arcade and taking one look at his hat decided that I had to ask him. There were several people photographing the arcade at the time – usually you might get one or two but there were about half a dozen with gear ranging from compacts to serious DSLRs and on another day I might have approached one of them to ask what was going on but instead I simply negotiated my way around them and walked straight up to Derek. Yet again my target "stranger" agreed without requiring an explanation – which I gave anyway along with one of my cards.
I did notice as I started talking to Derek that the photographer with the serious camera seemed to be quite interested in what was going on but I soon forgot about him as I concentrated on what I was doing and I didn’t see him again.
Derek told me that he has been photographed a few times in pubs with people asking him permission but only saying that it will be on the website tonight without giving any more information about which website … last time I looked the internet was a big place! Hopefully, armed with my card Derek will have no problems finding his photo if he wishes.
Derek was out buying DVDs of Last of the Summer Wine and was going home to start watching them, as a very long running series he has quite a task ahead of him. As the DVDs were in an HMV bag I had already decided where I was going with the conversation and I wasn’t about to let a minor detail get in the way so I asked him what kind of music he likes … rock music … and he also told me that he used to be in a few bands until he contracted MS and left about 20 years ago. He listed a few bands that he had been in but I could only reward him with a blank face 😉 – Gin $ling was one and I think Pin Up was another – the third I didn’t catch.
All the time we were talking I was taking a few shots from a couple of different angles and trying to focus manually to focus through his glasses and once I was happy I put my camera down and thanked Derek for his time when he extended his hand to me and he wished me good luck with my project.
After we had parted I realised that he had given me quite a personal detail about his MS and whilst I often check with a stranger if there is anything they don’t want me to mention I hadn’t done so on this occasion before Derek brought the meeting politely to an end. Minutes later though I spotted him again so I decided to pester him once more just to check … sure, I have no secrets.
He laughed slightly when I approached him the second time and I really didn’t mean to detain him any longer than a few seconds but then he started talking to me again …
… it turned out that after we parted, Derek also gave a bit of thought to what had been said and decided that he had implied a very narrow taste in music but in reality he likes all sorts. We chatted for a few more minutes and I learned that his wife likes Folk music ("Hey Nonny Nonny and all that") and is a very accomplished violinist and singer but I’m pretty sure that folk music was quite far down his wider list of music tastes. With that I thanked Derek again and left him to enjoy his afternoon.
Derek thanks very much for your time today – I hope that you like the photo if you have a look.
Please feel free to provide constructive critique on the technical aspects of this photograph.
This picture is #96 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