It is safe to say I am not a religious man, at least in the traditional sense. I would challenge the word traditional, but that is for a different time. A friend and I were waiting for our flight when a group of airline workers came to the area and appeared to be on break. It was a quiet area, between flights, most of the workers were laughing and chatting, except this man. He split off, sat in an empty row of seats and pulled out a little book. I assumed it was a Bible. It reminded me of one I knew my Grandfather Arthur had, it looked just as appreciated, with the curled pages and bent spine. At first I felt a bit guilty watching, it was a private moment, yet it could not have been a more public place. He would look down to the book, look up, close his eyes and say something, then repeat the same steps over and over a few more times. I could not hear him, I image even if I was sitting right next to him, I would have struggled to hear. I think his lips were just going through the motions of reciting or answering the book as they probably had done many times before.
There was something powerful about the moment, the empty row, the fact you could tell we were in an airport, his vest identifying him as a worker, the tiny book that most of us would recognize as a Bible, I saw the shot before the camera was out of the bag. My intent was not to be intrusive or rude, just to catch a moment. I shot from the hip, shared it with my fellow traveler, then put the camera away.
I wondered how it was different from me pulling out a photo book or some saved blog posts on my iPad and trying to sneak a read in my hectic day. Now, please do not explain the differences between a photo article and the ‘Good Book’, I am not trying to minimize his beliefs or over inflate photography. I only compare the two because to me, that is my salvation. I spend my free time, my breaks, reading, learning, consuming photography. There have been many times I’ve read an article on white balance or composition, when I already knew the content. Just as I am sure he could have recited the passages he was reading without ever opening his book. Yet that is how he chooses to spend, at least today, his break. We all have our “things” that we spend our quiet time with and no matter who sees us, it is only for us. No matter how public the venue. I can respect that.