Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Forgot His Name

They came in droves, each one with a camera, every camera digital. They were young and old, white and black, tattooed and unadorned. They were on the Great B&H Photo Scavenger Hunt (I added the "Great"), and were in Washington Square Park to scavenge photos of people. Someone told me that there were different categories of people, such as a hot dog vendor, a musician, and I don't know what politically correct category they would have put him in. "Street Person?"

I don't remember what I was shooting when I saw people gathering around him with their cameras. I, as I did in a photo I posted a few days earlier, took a few steps back and took pictures of the photographers shooting him. He sat on the bench enjoying the attention, when he noticed me and said, "That's an old one!"

I stepped forward amidst the sea of shooters and sat close to him. "What's your name," I asked, since I doubt anybody else did (the self-important hypocrite that I am). He told me his name which I've since forgotten, and I offered to shake hands, which we did (which made me feel even more like a self-important hypocrite, and I reminded myself to chop off my hand once I got home).

"Can I take your picture," I asked. I knew it was a silly question, but I figured I'd be formal about it.

"Look around!" he said, gesturing to the crowd around him. "I'm featured on so-and-so's blog (yet another thing I forgot)." We went on and made small talk about a vintage store in the neighborhood that has cameras in the window.

I was the closest to him of all the photographers. This was the last picture I took of him, having gotten even closer for my last shot. I left feeling all haughty and high-minded that I seemingly got this "exclusive" access, or maybe that I was willing to get so close to the, "Street Person." You can see me in the reflection of his sunglasses, there on the left. You can see my hat. Heck, here's a detail of it taken at full size:

In the end, I said goodbye and headed back home. I didn't cut off my hand, and I didn't give the man anything for his troubles. Hell, I didn't even have the common courtesy to remember his name.

I just took his photo to put it on my blog, exploiting him in the hopes that people will look at it and give me the credit for taking a good picture.

But that's in our job description, right?

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