So, New Year’s Day we were out taking pictures of new textures and objects (yeah – we are just that dedicated and crazy to do it on New Year’s Day). It was a beautiful, sunny day in the mid-sixties, slight breeze with perfectly white, puffy clouds lazily drifting about the sky. We were in an older part of this small town, near the historic train station (which is now a museum) when a guy from a cross the street yells over at me.
I cast a quick glance at him and see that he is standing near a few backpacks and an odd bag or two, notice his clothing, and guess that he is probably homeless. He yells out again and this time mentions something about the camera I am holding.
I smile and wave and say something as equally unintelligible as his comment, but with a tone that says, “Yeah, yeah – I am sure that is really interesting and all, but I am good over here. No need to share anything more… Thanks!”
I move on and about half an hour later, the three of us (me and the other two photographers I was with) all pass by the same guy and he calls out again, “Hey! I can see that you guys appreciate fine photography. Take a look at these babies!” He walks across the street towards us with a small book in his hand. We all continue absent-mindedly taking a few shots in hopes that if we look busy, he will just turn around and walk away.
He comes up to me with a big grin and repeats his earlier comment while holding out a small photo album with a sense of pride. “Take a look at these! Here is one that shows the whole thing. You don’t see photos like this anymore. Look at that color…” and on and on. The first thing I notice is the alcohol on his breath and the second thing I notice are the photos. One by one, shot by shot, different angle by different angle, they are all photos of someone’s pot-growing enterprise in what looks like a suburban backyard. Hundreds of nice green healthy plants, all organized, about 5 to 6 feet tall, and well cared for.
Judging by the look of the photos, they are probably 10 to 15 years old and my guess is that he found them in the trash or something. As we look at his treasures, trying not to smirk at what he was sharing with us, he tells us how you just can’t do this kind of thing anymore, “They have satellites y’know and they can see all of this… all of US… all the time. Ever since 911 y’know…!” He twitches a bit and looks up and over his shoulder as if he can feel the cold stare of a distant satellite.
We agreed they were nice photos and slowly moved on, adding a few “uh-huh, mmmmm…”, and “oh yeah – that makes sense,” comments to his on-going description of the photos as we walked on. Once out of earshot of him we shared a few grins, laughs and comments about the subject of the photos and remarked that it is nice that anyone can appreciate photography…