take snapshots into the light

i've been thinking lately, since we got our new camera and all, that it would be great to be able to take pictures of people. but it isn't that easy. you see people don't take kindly to some stranger taking their picture, it implies something and generally i don't think it is that they are beautiful. i can't argue that point cause yesterday on three seperate occasions i wished i had a camera to take the picture and in every case it was because there was something odd about the subject.

the first was my bus driver heading downtown after work. he was a heavy set man with long thick grey hair, a bushy grey beard and big thick rose coloured glasses. they were the variety of glasses that really stand out on a man's face, oddly out of place and seemingly more appropriate for a female octogenrian, they immediately made me want to stare at him. what i was treated to was his lazy lean on the steering wheel as he filled his hand with corn chips, clenched it into a fist and then tilted his head back ever so slightly as he shook some chips from the fist into his mouth. then, as one would expect, he started agressively chewing with his mouth open, his face in an ever so slight grin like he was amused by his shear audacity. now i realize all this couldn't have been caught on film but just one well timed shot, fist in the air mouth open awaiting chips glasses reflecting the harsh light from outside, would have somehow seemed satisfying none the less.

the second time the thought crossed my mind was at the corner of robson and thurlow. as we approached the corner we heard some loud very distorted music wafting through the air. i thought it was simply another store projecting their noise pollution onto the sidewalk in hopes of garnishing some attention. but as we got closer i realized this was not the case. there leaning against one of the 7 starbucks on the block was a middle aged asian man standing beside a boombox circa 1986. he was wearing black sunglasses that wrapped around the side of his head, a black leather jacket with studs and one leather glove with tassles, his head bobbed ever so slightly from front to back. after taking in his apparel i was once again drawn to the distortion only to realize it was michael jackson (and here you would moan and say of course it was!). he seemed to be completely unaware of the dozens of people staring at him and laughing. in fact had i had a camera he likely would not have cared in the least if i had taken his picture, but i still don't think i would have been brave enough.

the third and final occasion was later on in the night when we returned home. getting off the bus we saw a crowd gathered outside the local comic book shop. it is the kind of place you would barely notice in the day, no sandwich board outside letting you know it is there, no glitzy signage. just a door and some dated posters in the window. so at first when i saw the crowd i was a little taken aback, did i know there was comic book store here? but soon my confusion became amusement as i caught a glimpse of the people inside. something between geeky and cool which i think sums up my neighbourhood well. girls with thick lisa loeb glasses, black and white striped tights, pale skin and long faces. mouths upturned in jagged tooth grins. the boys wearing comic book hero t-shirts, ill fitting jeans and sneakers adorned with bright colours had slick awkwardly long hair and seemingly large facial features. there were 2 dozen, maybe more, all spilling out on the street. excitement was in the air as they laughed and jittered. there was no beer, no cigarettes, the only intoxicants present were hormones and comic book magic. in my eye i saw the shot but had to keep walking. the image in my memory alone.

when i got home i thought about these shots and how hard it is to be the kind of person that can take them, well at least without a telephoto lense and then i thought of how we as a society have become obsessed with capturing the moment. whether it is digital cameras or digital camcorders we all are starting to only see the world through an eye hole. i am equally as guilty of it, needing to trap everything in my butterfly net, pinning them somewhere for later. it was, in the end, refreshing to know that somethings, at least for now, are only found in my memory. that some things i am still able to look at, take in and leave behind.


nicole said...

oh man...aaron called me yesterday late afternoon to tell me that there was some crazy middle-aged asian guy wearing an LAPD t-shirt walking around our neighbourhood with a boom-box perched on his shoulder...small world! nice picture it would have been ;)

Anonymous said...

John Mayer 3x5 (seems appropriate)

I'm writing you to
catch you up on places I've been
You held this letter
probably got excited, but there's nothing else inside it
didn't have a camera by my side this time
hoping I would see the world through both my eyes
maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm
in the mood to lose my way with words
TODAY skies are painted colors of a cowboy cliche'
And strange how clouds that look like mountains in the sky
are next to mountains anyway
Didn't have a camera by my side this time
Hoping I would see the world through both my eyes
Maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm
in the mood to lose my way
but let me say
You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes
it brought me back to life
You'll be with me next time I go outside
NO more 3x5's
I Guess you had to be there
I Guess you had to be with me
Today I finally overcame
tryin' to fit the world inside a picture frame
Maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm in the mood to
lose my way but let me say
You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes
it brought me back to life
You'll be with me next time I go outside
no more 3x5's
just no more 3x5's