Ross was the second stranger I met at the Bikes & Barges event in Maldon this afternoon. He was playing bass with his tribute band The Doll Set Tones, entertaining folks on the quayside with a couple of catchy sets. I made a picture as he was playing – his colourful sunglasses immediately caught my attention. But that image wasn’t great, and at that point, I hadn’t spoken to him, so it was just a candid portrait. Sometime later, I was wandering around making images of the bikes on show and Ross walked towards me and the two friends I was with. I was just about to grab the chance and ask if he would mind me taking his picture, when he suddenly recognised my two companions whom he’s know for about 15 years but hadn’t seen for ages! So of course we got chatting. He started out as an apprentice motorbike mechanic working for my friend Simon, but left a few years ago. The modest rock and roll lifestyle he leads clearly wasn’t sufficient for his wife, who was apparently at a Robbie Williams gig today, rather than listening to hubby play! He also breeds cats as a hobby – Simon and Sue have one of his (now grown) kittens, Sox. It’s a small world really, and although Ross was a stranger to me, he was an old friend to my mates. Great to meet you, Ross.
Tony was attending the Bikes & Barges event in Maldon this afternoon, which I went along to with a couple of friends. There were lots of shiny motorcycles on display which we enjoyed photographing. Tony was admiring a particularly well kept 1959 Harley Davidson and we got chatting. He’s been riding bikes since he was a teenager, but had a break when he discovered girls and decided a car was a much more practical vehicle for taking them out on dates! Having decided he needed to get back on two wheels some years later, he now rides a Kawasaki ZZ1400 which he says can be a bit of a beast to handle, but he enjoys it rather than having a show bike which he would never dare to ride for fear of scratching it! Thanks for agreeing to be Stranger #29, Tony, it was lovely talking to you.
Today I went to the Museum of Power in Langford with some friends on a photowalk. There were vintage cars, motorbikes and traction engines on show as well as the usual static steam engine exhibits. I got talking to David, who was there showing his hand-built miniature traction engine, McGrew. He took five years to build it from scaled down plans and regularly takes it to steam fairs and country shows. David was very enthusiastic about his machine and quite happy to chat. Thanks for your time David, it was a pleasure talking to you.
I seem to have neglected my Strangers again recently; the last was in November when I met Lucia. Today I went to do some street photography with friends from GNPC. We visited Columbia Road Flower Market, Spitalfields and Brick Lane in London – all great opportunities for people watching. On our way down Brick Lane, this dapper gent was merrily dancing along the pavement to some rap music. He was soon joined by a couple of other guys who seemed to know him and they looked like they were having a great time. My picture of the trio made it for Day #1511. But afterwards, I thought he was too good a character to pass up, so I managed to have a quick word with him. His name is Johnnie Walker and he lives locally to Brick Lane. He initially introduced himself by saying “I’m nobody” – but then concurred that he was, at least, a pretty snappy dresser! He is often to be seen in the area and loves the East End and its friendly inhabitants. It was great to see someone who appeared to have such joie de vivre, and wasn’t afraid to show it. Thanks for bringing a smile to many people’s faces this afternoon, Johnnie – the pleasure was all ours.
This evening I went to my photography club for a workshop. We have had an influx of new members, and I haven’t been able to go along for a few weeks, so I had not met Victoria before. We chatted about her photographic ambitions – she’s a mum of three and her youngest little boy is already a model (he’s nearly two). She would love to be able to take portraits of him but admits she is very new to photography, having taken it up in the last year or so. Thanks for being my impromptu model, Victoria – it was great talking to you, and I’m sure it won’t be the last time.
I met Josh today on the Typography tour of Brighton (along with Keith and Andrew). He is a web developer from Brighton who has recently started working for well-known local firm Clear Left on their Font Deck website project. He was optimistically wearing huge sunglasses, despite the constant threat of rain during our walk. Thanks for posing for me, Josh.