There is a place not far from me that I stumbled upon recently – great for a shoot, but on private property. I used my friend Google to find out who owned the property and, as per a previous blog post, I just went and asked.
The owner was an older gentleman and didn’t seem too surprised when I asked if I could shoot – it seems lots of photographers had “stumbled upon” this place and come knocking at his door before. After being given permission to shoot I offered to provide a few mounted prints by way of thank you – this usually elicits an exclamation of approval with large smiles – but this chap just shrugged and said “ok”.
Well, on Friday last week I received the finished mounted prints back from my lab for this particular gentleman, so I jumped in the car and went over to his place to deliver them, a couple of 10×8’s in 2″ mounts should do the trick I thought.
He was pretty gruff to say the least, wanted to know why I had come back again pestering him, I calmed him down and said, no, look, these are for you – handing him the mounted prints I watched his expression change from annoyance to bemusement – what, are these for me? He said, a little unsure if they really were. Of course, I did promise you a couple of prints, I replied.
The look on this old man’s face said it all, and I suddenly realised, this was the first time anyone had actually given him any prints ! He ushered me into his kitchen and made me a lovely cup of tea and then proceeded to tell me about “all the other photographers” that came to his place shooting.
Not a single photographer in the past had kept good with their word on the promise of a few prints, not one. I spent about an hour with this old man, passing the time of day and talking about life in general, and when I left, his parting words were, anytime you want to come back and shoot, you just come back!
And so for the sake of a few £’s spent on some 10×8’s and a bit of petrol used I have restored an old man’s faith in human nature.
Best – Colin