Old Man

I have been staring at my computer screen for about an hour wondering how to start my first blog entry. And despite the fact that I’m now on the second sentence, I’m still stuck for words.  I’m not used to doing this yet but hopefully these first few lines will serve as an ice breaker, easing the way to providing you with better content!

Maybe this will be one of those blogs that gets read worldwide, giving hope and inspiration to millions, getting published in newspapers, magazines, books, dissertations and eventually lead to world peace…  The likelihood though, is that it will only serve it’s purpose as a means for my tutors and fellow students to see how things are going for me during my studies and what the hell goes on in this head of mine.

So I’ll start properly by telling you about a photograph I took in Hong Kong 10 years ago.  It was the first shot I remember ‘seeing’ before pressing the button and one of the first I really cared about.  A year after taking it, just before returning to HK again, I decided to get a framed print for the man. I remembered how patient he had been when I took it and wanted to show him how great I thought he looked sitting in front of his stall.  I was pretty certain that he would not have seen many photographs of himself and thought he might like one.  Or maybe it would have gone on the pile with the other photographs of him minding his stall that other young budding photographers had printed for him…

I couldn’t remember his exact location, but I walked around Cat Street showing people the photo and asking if they knew or recognised him.  No one did.  I eventually found it, but what used to be a carefully piled chaos of secondhand goods was now reduced to a green metal frame which resembled a big empty cage.  Nearby, perched on a cobbler’s stool was an elderly woman who glanced at the photo and quickly proceeded to glide her index finger tip across her neck.  She then told me that the man had recently passed away.  I felt very saddened by this and returned home with the framed photo in my hands.  It’s now back in London and is the only shot that I’ve taken that I like to hang on my wall.

The last part of this story is that the person who made the print intended for the old man damaged the negative beyond repair and thus left me unable to make any further copies of it.  The reason I decided to write about this photograph is because it made me want to take my camera everywhere I go, print my own work in the darkroom, look after my negs and take photos that mean something to me.

This is really only a snap, but it’s one that brought a lot of positive changes to my life.

Anyway, here goes:

old-man.jpg

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