Dulltown, UK: Today’s quotation is the final one from my copy of the ‘novel’ Harry Bleachbaker (1976) by N F Simpson – rather than choosing a part of the text, this is an extract from the blurb on the inner back cover, which I suspect was written by N F himself:
This is not, it goes without saying, a book to be read through from cover to cover at one sitting; or even at several sittings. It is not, indeed, a book to be read through from cover to cover at all, except by those wishing to be pole-axed in the interests of science by a tedium so monumental as to be entirely without precedent in the history of fiction.
No, but deciding to try to take a photo looking out through a window on the upper deck of a moving bus is usually a mistake – what with shooting and composing through the grimy glass and dealing with the concomitant reflections of oneself and one’s shiny camera, the bouncing and juddering of the bus as it moves, and the fact the thing to are trying to capture is of course constantly moving past; I don’t recommend it dear reader. Mind you, digital photos don’t cost anything do they, it’s not like shooting expensive old-style 35mm film, is it? You can just delete all the bad ones at no cost.
Anyway, that’s what I did a couple of days ago.
The bus was chugging out of Dulltown city centre down a side road and past a scruffy nightclub that has been closed down for years – and there he was, sitting leaning on the wall in the corner. The bus paused at the traffic lights – Hm, I wonder if I could quickly get my little camera out, and get the name of the nightclub in as well as that snoozing human?… Click…
Of course this is the ‘tidied up’ version of the photo – it needed a bit of cropping, and a bit of contrast ‘enhancement’ – it was bit pasty pale having being shot through the bus window.
Oh, look you can see, in the top left corner, the reflections of some bus seats behind me.
Now then, the snoozing human, who is of course the whole point of the picture – he looks quite young doesn’t he? At first I thought he might be a homeless person, a ‘rough sleeper’, but perhaps he isn’t. Perhaps he was just feeling tired, it was a warm day, and he stopped in a quiet spot for a nap? I’m glad that bright traffic cone was there – it draws the eye to that corner and our subject very well.
Note: I have noticed that lots of photographers who go swanking around with their expensive cameras love to take pictures of people much less fortunate than themselves (there are lots of these pictures on Flickr) – as soon as they spot a grizzled old homeless person, sitting in a doorway with a bottle of something strong or doing some surreptitious drugs they pounce on them and cheerfully snap away – and then chuck a few small coins into the person’s lap. Perhaps they think this is serious photojournalism, and a cool thing to do? Me, I hate all that – have they no respect for their fellow human?… This picture is as near as I get to that sort of behaviour.
It’s not a bad photo considering the difficulties in taking it. I think I’ll refrain from being drawn into discussing any religious symbolism that might be seen to arise in this composition…