People

11/03/2008

People

People are the most difficult, but also the most rewarding subject to photograph. The few examples here show thus clearly, I hope.

I saw this baby on his own, seemingly abandoned, sleeping very peacefully, the kind of sleep which only babies seem capable of.
On the beach in Dubrovnik, early evening is the time of the chess players. Every move is discussed and dissected by all present.

In a piazza in San Diego, we saw this father and his daughter asleep, on a very hot day, totally oblivious to all and sundry.
On a summer’s day, in a Queens Wood cafe, I saw this young boy, Harry Potter-like and photographed him before I looked around. It was amazing to find out, immediately afterwards, that he is the son of an academic colleague, Prof. Rosie Thomas.
In a small town in Montenegro, this man crosses our path, carrying his large radio, playing to himself in the empty street. What is he listening to? Where is he going like this? Does he always carry his radio with him, like Radio Rahim in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing?
In an East Jerusalem busy road, while the soldiers drive people to clear the road, for some unknown reason, this man is not giving up on finding a bargain.
In a park cafe in mid-summer, this man sat and looked miserable, totally alone in the middle of the hubbub, and after some time he could stand it no more, and started crying.

This picture was taken many years ago, by me and Beni Bronstein in Tel Aviv. The man looked at me while I pressed the shutter with a gaze which was empty of life.
A woman walking past me in East Jerusalem, when both Israelis and Palestinians had a reason to hope for some future together.
A street scene in Marrakech – two women, two donkeys, and much affection.
Night in the Medina in Marrakech, and the stall holders, all women, are still there, waiting in vain for one last customer… while waiting, they never rest, knitting more of their wooly hats
In a cafe near the Saadian tombs, East meets West
Mysterious bundles of coloured twine abound all around Morrocan cities,especially in Marrakech. to begin with, one is lost when inquiring about. People would rather not tell you. Some young men were using coloured threads to weave this, very silent and serious. Maybe it is a part of Shchoor ceremony.
This is one of the mysterious weavers of coloured twine balls, in action in small but perfect garden in the Medina. He refused to tell me what he was doing – a form of practical magic called Schur, which is designed to dispel the evil spirits or Jinns. All around town, young men are weaving their balls of twine.
Another picture taken by Benny Bronstein and me on film years ago. This is the Jebalia beach, near Jaffa.
Tim always stops moving in pubs during lunchtime. Who are these people? Do they know each other? Why are they so silent? Will they be there tomorrow?
Sitting at Finsbury Park station, on a sunny freezing day, with people passing by and looking into the camera lens, is estrange experience, but one I would not miss – it also reminds me of a Kafka short story “Running past Us”.
In a park in the centre of Luchon, in the Haute Garron, a lunchtime concert of a world-famous pianist is held for the edification of the public at the Roman Baths. A brother and sister were left by their cycling parents in the pail, seemingly trapped for the duration of the concert. But they liked it.
The new starers leading to the old granary at Kings Cross, where the Central St Martin’s School of Art has moved to. The place is unreal, belongs to a company and is totally privatised, with the public suffered to enter. For the time being, it seems. The water nearby (of the Grand Union Canal) are a saving grace.
I watched this elderly couple gently as they watched others, more mobile than themselves. The pigeons where waiting for them to move, so they could finish the cakes they left.
It is quite difficult to photograph quickly with the 6*7 heavy film camera, but sometimes you have to try – passing by open doorways, peeking into a scene excluding you, where people are in the middle of things, with intense discussion, and probably deep disagreement in evidence. You will pass, and they shall continue to pursue a mysterious agenda.

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