Here was a stranger I was never going to allow to walk past without asking 😉 …
It took a second to get going though … I got it wrong when checking the spelling of his name and when I asked where he was from, because "I couldn’t place the accent", I was surprised to hear that he was local, although after a bit I tuned in and realised this was down to my ears not him – the local accent quite evident once we got going.
As I was guiding him to where I wanted him to stand and sorting out my camera I cut straight to the chase and asked what his style was all about and learned that it is Steampunk culture. I’d vaguely heard of this but didn’t know what it meant so we were off to a good start with something to talk about.
Arron talked enthusiastically about the subject and it is obviously a really important part of who he is. As I understood it, it is all about Victorian era science fiction and how the world would be if the inventions written about by the likes of Jules Verne had actually existed at the time. A world of The Nautilus and Icarus Wings. I asked if it was just the Victorian era science fiction that he was into or if he liked modern science fiction as well and he started talking about Firefly – an American series that I loved the second a friend introduced me to it but to Arron it brought two genres together with elements of the Wild West and Victorian era blended with modern spaceship science fiction – I was obviously a little more familiar with Steampunk than I was ever aware, had I only known. I kept wanting to come back to Firefly as it was a little bit of common ground between us but Arron was in full flow and I never managed to steer the conversation back to it.
As Arron talked about the genre in general he mentioned that he loves graphic novels and comics so I asked what his favourite graphic novel was and he told me that regarding Steampunk novels he loved League of Extraordinary Gentleman and more generally his real favourite was V for Vendetta. I started talking about the two saying that I hated the first but enjoyed the second but stopped when I realised that I was of course talking about the films not the novels but nonetheless Arron pretty much shared my view regarding the films and he was off again talking about the differences between the V novels and the film and how V was portrayed inaccurately as a political activist who may or may not have been gay in the film and then he was describing a scene he loved – with V conducting an orchestra inter-twined with blowing up the Houses of Parliament – my head was beginning to spin by this point ;).
Before I saw Arron I was already on my way back to the office (having given up on finding someone interesting for the third day in a row) so I was getting a bit short of time but nonetheless I popped my maddest thing question and yet again falling from the sky featured …
… the maddest thing that Arron has ever done is bungee jump in a car park beside his house – from about 50ft up. He threw himself off the platform and as he was heading straight towards the concrete below he remembers thinking – "oh, this isn’t such a good idea"! Thankfully he lived to tell the tale and take part in the closing chapter of my project.
Arron, thanks very much for your time today, you opened my eyes to a world I had only vaguely heard of and I loved your passion … as I said at the time I went looking for someone colourful today and I found it both in style and personality.
Please feel free to provide constructive critique on the technical aspects of this photograph.
This picture is #99 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