Sunday, July 28, 2019

Where I almost get beaten up for the shot

No one looks in, or out
London, ON
July 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The scene: The corner of Adelaide and Cheapside. It's a hot, sticky Saturday morning, and I'm on a quick photo walk before our daughter is done work for the day.

I notice an old three-storey walkup apartment across the street. The bricks look tired, likely from decades of baking in the sun at this busy intersection. No one comes here to sightsee, but for some reason, I feel compelled to shoot a facade that probably seemed worn out when it was first built.

From across four lanes of high-speed traffic, I zoom in, compose, expose, and shoot before continuing on my way. As soon as I tuck the camera back over my shoulder, I hear "Hey" behind me and turn to see a 50-ish man in a yellow t-shirt and dirty khaki shorts walking toward me. Or maybe he's 40-something, but time clearly hasn't been kind to him.

I'm not paranoid, but when I walk alone aound a semi-sketchy neighborhood carrying a DSLR with a big lens, I worry a little. He stops too close to me and asks me with a defiant tone, "Why are you taking pictures of my building?"

I step back and stare straight at him, subtly gripping the barrel of my lens in case I need it for more than light-gathering. "Because I'm a photographer." I'd like to tell him a whole lot of other things, but I bite my tongue and watch for his reaction. Time ticks off in my head as I hope I haven't provoked him further.

He nods, sniffles out a "fine" through a mouth half-filled with teeth and walks away. From behind a tree, another iffy-looking character materializes and gives yellow-t-shirt guy a high-five before they shuffle off down the sidewalk. Did I just dodge a bullet? I'll never know.

Still, I'd probably question a stranger, too, if he pointed a lens at my house. Or I'd point my lens right back and maybe offer to shoot together. There are nicer ways to get answers, after all.

Too bad he'll likely never see this pic.

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