I approached Julian, who was standing on the sidelines of his nephew’s soccer match. He was with two other people who appear as the next subjects in my stream of strangers.
His back was originally towards me. While I introduced myself, he spun around and we made eye contact and I asked for all three of them to participate. The two others were intermittently lovey-dovey and while interested in being photographed, Julian was keen to take part at once.
I considered how to deal with our natural light: it was on-again:off-again sunlight hinting at imminent precipitation. In those moments, I asked Julian if he could impart an idea or thought to share with the people who enjoy reading narratives that accompany these photographs.
It only took a moment of his reflection to come back with,
“The world’s imperfections are perfect.”
I asked about the logo (a cartooned conquistador in black embroidery) and name on the rear of his black baseball cap. He told me the Albuquerque Dukes were a baseball team in town that moved out in 2000. It’s stalwart of him to continue wearing the team gear 15 years later.
We moved the low riding brim of his Dukes cap an inch higher off his forehead to reveal his eyes. I took a headshot. Then he lifted up his hands, formed two fists and revealed to me his finger tattoos. With the right and left hands together, the ink faces the viewer and reads across as: “ACHIEVER.” Putting his pieces together was unexpected and I thanked him for sharing with me.
In the moment when he formed the words, I went to a mid-shot and my focus instinctively went to his hands, rather than his eyes. I usually walk around with a wide-angle lens aboard my camera body. I’ve trained myself to frame focus up front and shallow with my 10-22mm, and it’s hard to break that habit.
Clearly, Julian has deep running waters. All I could do was dip my toes into the surface before our time was over. It was a pleasure to make his acquaintance and I hope he enjoyed the experience and photos I sent to him.