There are two photographs I want to share with you today, both taken on my way to work but on different days. The first made me stop and ponder what my future would be like. I see this woman every morning at the station and on some days she is so early that she falls asleep on the bench, and I often wonder how many times she must have missed her train. The first time I saw her over a month ago, she was wearing an oversized winter coat that literally drowned her petite form. Her head was leaning on the backrest of the bench and was was fast asleep. At first glance I assumed she was homeless, but that turned out to be an erroneous assumption on my part. Over time, I observed her closely, noting that her demeanor is nothing less than dignified graceful serenity. If I can age in that manner, I would say that would be a life well lived.
The second image is an interpretation of the perfect stranger, absolutely leading man inspiration material for a book or even a short story! He was at the cafe this morning but not in sight when I arrived. Definitely not a regular, so when he emerged from the bathroom to have a second coffee and a smoke, I paid attention.
As a photographer, there is always something incredibly intriguing about a beautiful back, especially a male back. There is an old saying in German, ein schöner Rücken kann auch entzücken (a beautiful back can also delight), and often times I find this much more attractive than a face. The mystery of the unknown that allows my imagination to roam free is my standard for choosing my subject(s) and there are countless ways of running with this theme.
I remember a friend teasing me about it years ago while he watched me photograph people from the back. At first he didn’t quite get my point, wondering why I didn’t want to photograph the faces like most documentary photographers would. In all honesty, there have been far too many times when the person turned and completely shattered the fantasy, so I draw the imaginary lines. The man this morning though, was the exception, and when I caught a glimpse of his profile, I was half tempted to approach him to ask whether he would be interested in a full photoshoot. Alas, before I could summon up the nerve to do so, he stood up and walked away. Damn!