I Found Tom!
This is about another aspect of street photography that I really enjoy. Beyond the candid photographs, there can be a situation that lends itself to street portraits. I regularly get to meet and talk to people. Sometimes briefly, but sometimes I hear about their stories, and it is always nice to have that encounter.
The story starts about 2 years ago, when I shot a photograph of a really awesome 1950's red truck parked in a field next to the Willamette river in the industrial part of Portland. I will find out later that it is an "International Harvester Metro Van".
Fast forward to this past February, I am walking along the river in the same general area (about 1/2 mile south of where I took the photograph of the truck), basically underneath the Fremont bridge. It is a typical grey afternoon, being winter in Portland. Really no one is there, and I think that it might not be such a great location for street photography or any photography for that matter. However, I come across a man who is fishing. Naturally I say hello and we start chatting. We cover the basics, the weather, the nice location, how lucky we are to be in such a nice city, etc…
Obviously we start talking about fishing and he tells me that he is new at this spot, since his favorite spot a short distance to the north is no longer accessible due to construction. I share that I am familiar with the other spot, and that I remember taking a photo of a really nice red truck there a couple years prior. With a smirk on his face, he goes on telling me that it was his truck.
Now, he has my full attention, and naturally I offer him to bring a print of his truck. He seems glad as he is obviously very proud of his truck. He tells me that his name is Tom and he fishes here often. I left there quite happy with the encounter and determined to give Tom a print of the photo.
Well, I knew his first name and the location where he liked to fish, but after a few unsuccessful attempts at finding him again, I started thinking that I may not see Tom again.
On yet another attempt on a beautiful afternoon, with brilliant sunshine, I turned into the parking lot and was rewarded by the sight of the magnificent red truck parked there. That was all I could see "The" red truck. It was quite exciting, Tom was there. As promised, I gave him the photograph of his truck and he seemed genuinely happy with it. I was pleased with the large print myself. We talked for quite a while, about the history of the truck, and many other subjects covering many topics. After getting his OK, I shot a few portraits. He seemed rather relax and did not mind the camera. Perfect, I thought, as we had a very nice visit and I was able to do what I really enjoy which is to take photographs.
I left with a big smile inside (and probably on my face as well), got in my car and sent a simple text to my wife: "I found Tom!".....