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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

London Strangers



Last week, Eric in Paris posted a picture that aroused a lot of controversy. It set me thinking how anonymous London is - how little we know of the stories of any of the people we pass in the street.

I decided I would try to capture an ambiguous and enigmatic photo, and here it is. Is this guy angry? maybe sad? has he lost a girlfriend? does he wish he had one? maybe a boyfriend? Does he just fancy pigeon pie? We will never know. But, if you'd like to be creative and make up his story, the best one will win a highly sought after London Daily Photo Winner's postcard..... go on, give it your best shot.

posted by Ham at 01:20 -- Comments here: 25

Comments on "London Strangers"

 

Blogger Nathalie said ... (02:37) : 

But Ham, if you've followed Eric's blog, the main question is : did you obtain prior permission from this guy to publish his photo??? All right, we won't start all over again. I encourage those of you interested in this debate to refer to Eric's post to which Ham gives a link.

Your photo is beautiful Ham, and yes, enigmatic. Personally I would have liked you to walk up to him (perhaps after the photo) and ask him what his story was. I tend to shy away from taking pictures of people but I do it more often now: whenever I did, it usually resulted in very nice conversations.

 

Blogger Carol said ... (02:55) : 

He just watched Hitchcock's movie, "The Birds." He is freaked out and scared that this little pigeon is the first of many who are plotting an attack. He put up his hood to protect his head, and he's trying to hurry and eat his apple before the birds pounce.

 

Blogger Carol said ... (03:03) : 

Hmmm. I didn't read the comments on Eric's photo. Do we know for sure the he did NOT ask permission to post the picture? What about Ham. Did you? I usually do ask people when they will be recognizable. Most people are fine with it, especially when I say I won't use any names.

 

Blogger Kate said ... (03:08) : 

Ah, this young man is confused and scared in a strange part of the city. One in which he is unfamiliar. But, he has found his pigeon; he know its his homing pigeon because of the unusual markings on it, invisible markings that only he can see. He's waiting for the homing pigeon to lead the way home.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (04:13) : 

Dear Ham, Perhaps this tranquil gentleman is taking a break from filming on a Star Wars XIX set---they've been shooting those films here too,in which the directors (out of their birds) have been using these kinds of diminutive extras with the finely-marked plumage---the smaller the better in relation to recent outrageous union demands. The two depicted in your photo may be only rehearsing their lines together--- rather eloquently. . .for they are a very touching duo. Thanks for the thoughtful image.

 

Blogger Michael said ... (06:12) : 

LOL anonymous!

Nathalie said, "Personally I would have liked you to walk up to him (perhaps after the photo) and ask him what his story was." Maybe Ham did. Maybe that's the whole purpose of this exercise.

As I have no idea, I'll take a guess that he is just sitting, waiting for someone (a friend). While waiting, there's nothing else to do but watch this pigeon who is watching him, waiting for a bread crumb or two.

 

Blogger Ham said ... (07:55) : 

Nathalie, this isn't an extension of the argument on Eric's post, it's a tangential issue. It's all about how little we know about other's feelings.

As far as the privacy issue is concerned I'll nail my colours to the mast: You can publish a picture of anything taken in a public place. How much you choose to hide, show or ask for permission is entirely your own decision. You may not take or publish pictures in a situation where the subject could reasonably expect not to be seen.

Some good starts to the story competition!

 

Blogger Ham said ... (08:11) : 

To expand a bit more... the argument over there sparked by the vitriol of Dr.A whole is in my view as entirely misplaced as the assumptions it was attacking - that Eric was exploiting someone at the bottom of society. The sweeping assumptions that lie behind that are at least if not more damning than tha behaviour it was criticising.

So, this is an exercise in assuming. Assume away.

 

Blogger lynn said ... (11:04) : 

Ham: your explanation of photography law is just as i thought and tried to explain at Eric's blog. Glad you said the same.

He's not actually looking at the pigeon. Rather, at something on his peripheral vision. His clothes look of quite good quality so i think he is not homeless. I believe his thoughts are as follows.

"That bloke over there poncing about with a camera is probably one of those Daily Photo geeks. Hmm...I'll look pensive, get him to elicit lots of venom-filled criticism from comments, act hurt and sell my story to a red-top rag, laugh my way to the bank and sod my job at the supermarket."

 

Blogger lynn said ... (11:07) : 

Obviously, sincere apologies for humour if the poor chap really is homeless!

 

Blogger Lunar Chick said ... (11:19) : 

Two strangers meeting, eyeing each other... the pigeon moves on, the man stays put.

 

Blogger zannnie said ... (15:45) : 

Enigmatic indeed!...perhaps he is thinking how cold the pigeon might be (like him) in this weather now;)

 

Blogger Gerald England said ... (19:04) : 

Phew he's maybe thinking that the pigeons get more to eat than he does.

I took a look at Eric's photo and saw 152 comments! I did get reading there as far as the first couple of posts from Dr.A and looked at his profile and his blog and am certainly thinking his is a case the kettle calling the pot, but I'm off to watch Emmerdale now so will have to go back and read the rest of the comments later!

 

Blogger ems said ... (21:16) : 

I think he's broken hearted.

 

Anonymous Brian Pigeon said ... (23:13) : 

Nah - he's just jealous and wishes he was a pigeon too.
Your pal Brian Pigeon

 

Blogger Ham said ... (00:24) : 

I think I'll leave the competition open for a few days....

 

Anonymous Nathalie said ... (04:22) : 

All right, I'll give it a go. Just looked at your title again and it doesn't befit the photo in my opinion: perhaps they're both local but the way I see it there's one stranger (the guy) and one local (the pigeon) and the guy thinks: I wish I belonged to this place the way he does.

PS - still think the best stories are the ones you get from the people themselves. Time and time again I have found reality much more fascinating than fiction. Few authors dare throw at their characters the things that real life does!

 

Blogger Michael said ... (05:23) : 

That's not fair Ham. Do tell, do tell!

 

Blogger Ham said ... (08:16) : 

natalie, the title is because he, I and the pigeon are strangers, unlikely to ever see each other again.

michael, I really don't know, I did not speak to him. We are strangers.

 

Blogger Jing said ... (14:52) : 

mm...maybe he is just thinking of his day: work is well?? should find a better one?? or..just think of what should eat lately?? Chinese food or Japanese food or some chicken stew?? cold weather we should eat some warm food.
Oh, he is just relax there or waiting his girlfriend...:)
ooo...who knows???
:D
God know....

jing

 

Blogger Michael said ... (09:00) : 

Ham, do we get an answer to the riddle or did I miss it somewhere?

 

Blogger lynn said ... (10:37) : 

Yes, we demand to know who won! Please?

 

Blogger Ham said ... (01:04) : 

Sorry to have left it so long - unfortunately I am a little busy at the moment.

I declare the winner to be Carol for "He just watched Hitchcock's movie, "The Birds." He is freaked out and scared that this little pigeon is the first of many who are plotting an attack. He put up his hood to protect his head, and he's trying to hurry and eat his apple before the birds pounce."

Quite a few of the others made me smile but I've chosen this because it all fits.

No, I really didn't talk to the guy. It really never ceases to fascinate me how, in a city the size of London,- your days are full of intersections with people that you will never meet again.

Thanks all for joining in.

 

Blogger Carol said ... (04:37) : 

Thanks for choosing my story!!! How fun. Looking forward to receiving my prize. (I collect postcards, by the way.)

 

Blogger lynn said ... (21:25) : 

Congrats Carol - how opportune that you collect them!

 

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Name: Ham Location: London, United Kingdom View my complete profile