Thursday, September 29, 2011

Train talk.

I spent the evening riding around in artificial light, watching people, watching the rain streak the bus windows, la plume blowing delicately on my neck from the wind of the metro. As much as a pain the rain can be at times when dry clothes are of the essence, I love it dearly. Keeping in mind that school is what I make of it, I packed my camera equipment and one knight's helmet with the green plume and hit the road. Destination East. Whenever I feel lost, I head East. There is no real explanation for this, it just feels right when considering the options of direction.

On the bus ride to the nearest metro (Place-des-Arts) downtown, I met a young woman named Hana who reminded me so much of Lisa Varga. Slice of home in the simple familiarity of dress and speech. Hana kindly obliged to my camera and gave her face, knights helmet and all. The woman sitting beside me as I shot was also curious about my motive. Welllllllllllllllll. My motive is to explore the intimacy of portraiture through the aid of a prop. This knight's helmet embodies the nerve it takes to approach and be approached. The goal of my artwork is to produce approachable and truthful imagery. Nothing is more pleasing than to witness true character unfold like a flower through my lens, even for a moment. Trust. Is. Imperative. I love exploring this, pushing the boundaries of solitary comfort. The look of surprise and bewilderment on the faces of strangers when asked for their portrait are the mental photographs I tuck away in my mind's eye. Too bad the camera isn't capable of such quick looks.

People watching.

Eastward I went, eight, ten, twelve, fifteen stops. Every five stops or so I got off to walk around underground, open to connection of any sort, camera in hand, feather bobbing alongside like a willing pup. I met one man, no name taken as I forgot to ask. We conversed on a darkened bench in French to begin; my words tumbling out in broken particles like a child and he obliged my humble effort by answering my questions with a deliberate slowness and clarity. Merci, mon ami. I should have asked his name. When I asked for his photo, he retreated backwards on the bench with sudden velocity as if suddenly aware of his work clothes. Little did he know how I love work clothes, how I am drawn to workers. Wished I could have explained this to him in french. Maybe the helmet intimidated him, je sais pas. We shook hands when my train arrived and he carried on collecting crumpled metro journals for recycling. One wave, goodbye. Such kindness in those eyes and a strong handshake.

While waiting for the train at Place-des-Arts, two young men caught my eye. Jeans and leather jackets, big black boots. One man was incredibly tall, his friend short by comparison. I approached them after considering them for ten minutes, knowing that I would lose the image in mind if I waited another second. They were very kind and receptive. Laughter dancing around inside eyes, such a sight upon recognition and incredibly hard to capture. They were from Holland, their accents sweet like dessert. The train came before I could take their names. Shoot. It is very important to me record names and addresses when possible. I found it difficult to meter light underground but shot around anyway, who cares.

Last shot was of a cute french boy who laughed at my crappy french and then gave his face out of pity or mirth, I couldn't tell and shot anyway. He wore the helmet with confidence despite the train full of people. Square shoulders, dancing feather, fluorescent lights streaking the perpetual dark of the underground.

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