I’m really excited about this week of photos. I stumbled across this amazing mix of people who are full of life and character. They all have “swagger”.
However there’s one photo I want to give special mention to today – mainly because it involves my Father. I was on the phone to him earlier tonight, and all day I’d been thinking “I must remember to tell Dad this story, I must not forget.” But then we talked about dogs, work, films, all the usual stuff, and the story completely slipped my mind.
But I know that he reads this. He always tells me that he keeps up with my life via Facebook and this site (or my Mother throws her laptop under his nose when he’s trying to read the paper in the mornings, whether he likes it or not). Therefore I will now tell this story, to my Dad, but it’s okay, you can read it too – because feeling like you’re listening in on a conversation can be quite fun and I’m all for providing you with many of life’s weird and varied experiences:
Hey Father. The other evening, I was walking the dog, or “Mister big head” as you like to call him, in town.
We went around the park, then past the museum, as we usually do. As always, I’m acutely aware of whether I’ve gotten my photo for the day or not. At this stage, towards the end of our walk, I had not yet achieved my photo. The streets were emptying and things were looking bleak on the old “character” front.
Just as I started to think “oh bloody hell, I’m never going to find anyone,” I noticed a man, hovering around a large bus, which was parked at the Christ’s College side of the museum. He was wearing a retro baseball cap, a bright pink scarf, and was carrying multiple plastic bags which were so full they looked about ready to burst. I wasn’t sure if he was associated with the bus, or just chilling on the pavement. But I decided he was the one for me.
As I always do at this moment, I got my camera ready, took a big breath, then put on the awkward facial expression that I do for any approach- a mixture of a smile and anxiously furrowed brow. It’s an expression that I hope conveys the message of “hello, please don’t be mean, because talking to you takes a lot of courage, and I’ll probably cry if you yell at me. OKAY?”
So I approached the man, explained my project, and asked if I could take his photo. Thankfully he smiled, seemed flattered to be asked, and said yes. Once I’d got the shot, as per usual, I asked his name.
Now to those of you, who are not my Father (or Mother, hi Mother) let me explain this bit to you. Before my folks left Christchurch, two and a half years ago, my Dad worked at the Canterbury Museum. For most of those twelve years, even when I was still living at home as a teenager, my Dad would always recall stories about this guy that he worked with. A sweet, slightly eccentric guy called Bernie.
Ofcourse, the penny dropped. It was THE Bernie. Bernie from the Museum!
“ZOMG! YOU USED TO WORK WITH MY DAD!” I blurted out.
We exchanged a few niceties. He asked after you, then, quite seriously, said this:
“You know. To tell you the truth. Your father and I didn’t always see eye to eye on things. But I’ve come a long way since then, and I’ll tell you what – I’ve bloody missed him since he left.”
To which I kinda just laughed and went “aww” at. Because though you never told me about any specific clashes, I can see exactly how you both would have disagreed on certain things.
So there you go Father, though this strange project, I met your infamous Bernie.
And even now, I’m still kinda shocked at how my project is making Christchurch smaller than I ever imagined (and, geez, I already thought of it as small). As the year goes on the strange coincidences and connections are increasing. Which is rather bloody wonderful.
365 DAYS OF PORTRAITS: WEEK 33…