This is a leftover shot from the Vermont trip. The kids and I had some time to kill while waiting for my wife, so we walked up the road a ways to a “barn sale”. This place was a flea market crammed into a barn. Full of plenty of stuff you didn’t even know you were looking for. Manning the operation was Marvin, sitting in his chair in the middle, staying pretty quiet only really speaking up when you showed some interest in something. I think when he realized that we were not really going to buy anything he tried to get us to stay longer by telling us there is more stuff in the back. So the kids and I set off to explore the extra room behind the barn. It was full of carriages, radios, TVs, mattresses, canes, and cash registers all packed to the ceiling. It was either Danny pressing the no sale button on the antique register, or the floor creaking when I ventured too far into the back that brought Marvin into that extra room. While he leaned against a stack of trunks he politely explained to me that I wasn’t supposed to be back that far.” That stuff hadn’t been inventoried yet.” I apologized and crawled out from the back holding two ceramic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles busts that he did not even know he had. Dan had found a box of flashbulbs from the 60s thinking that I might be interested and handed them to me. So these 3 items I walk up to Marvin and said how much. $5 later, we were on our way back to my wife trying to avoid the rain.
The whole walk back I was pissed that I hadn’t gotten the photo of Marvin. Street photography fascinates me, but being a natural introvert I have never been successful at it. I have read many blogs and books on how to approach people, what to say to them, and even how to handle the rejection. I have left my house many a times, heading to Boston just to take photos of people on the street. Each time coming home empty-handed. Here was a chance to get the shot of the man in what appeared to be his natural environment, looking as raw as one can. So, I grab some business cards and walked back alone in the rain, determined to get my shot.
I headed back to the barn and Marvin has started to nod off in his chair. He seemed startled when he heard me come in and abruptly asked if I had forgotten something. I explained to him that I am a photographer, handed him my card and asked him if I could shoot his portrait. Without thought he asked the question that has continually prevented me from taking photos of strangers… “Why?” Seems like a fair question, why would a stranger want a photo of a stranger? I went into some explanation that it was an interesting environment, the light was incredible in the barn, and would add to the memory of the day. I then said I would be happy to mail him one of the shots if he wanted. This changed everything, body language relaxed and I could tell he was interested in having a photo. He made sure I had his address correct before I took a shot. He was still sitting in his chair and it was clear that asking him to move would be inconvenient. I grabbed 3 shots, the 1st is the dailypic, and the remaining 2 he lit a cigarette. That was it, I shook his hand ., thanked him and walked off. I will be mailing all the shots this week. I hope he enjoys them.
Score one for the introvert.