Saturday, January 09, 2010

Connecting at Ben's

Say hello to David
Boca Raton, FL, December 2009
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The usual reaction when I pull out my camera in a restaurant, grocery store or retail outlet is exasperation. Store owners and staff alike rarely appreciate someone playing paparazzi in the middle of the place. They think you'll sell the pictures to a competitor, tick off the other customers or cause the ice cream to melt with your incessant flashing.

So as I set up to take pictures of the hanging salamis (no jokes, please) at Ben's Deli, I fully expected to be shooed away when the door to the kitchen swung open and this gentleman's eyes met mine. I pre-emptively explained how cool the hanging salamis looked, and how the Montrealer in me felt compelled to record it in some way. He seemed to dig it, and we bantered for a bit about what I do with my pictures, why I choose such offbeat subjects and what a wonderland this deli would be if I had a couple of hours to run free here.

Then he offered to pose for a shot. In all my years of taking pictures in places where I really shouldn't, this has never happened. So I happily composed and snapped away. Rest assured that every time I'm in Boca Raton, I'll find an excuse to visit this place. Not only is the food incredible, but the people - like David here, and Paul the waiter-cum-photographer who told me where to find the best bird sanctuaries in the region - are memorably genuine.

Your turn: Connecting with folks through your lens. Please discuss.


Maude Lynn said...

What a cool guy!

I recently showed up at Sarah Palin book signing with my camera in hand. Not everyone was thrilled to see me!

Gallow said...

Great story, and great photo. Well done.

Suburban Girl said...

It is a great story and free advertising for the Deli! Too bad I don't get that way too often or I would stop in.

Anonymous said...

One day I was at the park taking pictures of my daughter as she played. I'd just gotten my new Canon Digital Elph Sure Shot and I was so pleased at the shots I was catching. A father was sitting nearby and we pointed out our kids. I snapped a cute picture of his daughter and son and then got his permission to take a few more. I then got his email address and mailed them all to him. We didn't connect beyond that, but I know he was glad to have the pics of that day.

Anonymous said...

I thought he looked like a doctor. His deli should be called Dr. Deli for sure!

Mojo said...

I guess I've been lucky about the experience of being shooed out of places for taking pictures.

I've had a few Ben's Deli experiences at Tate Street Coffee House in Greensboro. I'm rarely in Greensboro without my camera, and also rarely in Greensboro without making a stop at TSCH. Add in the fact that the place is a photographic playland and it's only natural. They've gotten a number of plugs on my blog and I've had a number of conversations with various employees much like yours with David. It's a friendly place and they make a pretty mean latte there too.

Anonymous said...

that chap looks like the mind reading policeman out of Heroes!