After the husband of stranger No. 26 declined being photographed, I walked down the end of the line of prospective strangers to Dani, my 28/100. She was in no way related to Charm, Pam and Tanner. They were just families with boys playing on the same soccer team.
Originally sitting on Dani’s lap was her 4 year-old son. His name sounds like Asher, but with an “X” in the spelling somewhere. Dani had already heard my spiel about the 100 Strangers project. She had watched as I captured the images of the others sitting nearby. She agreed to having her photo taken for the project. It was starting well.
‘Asher with an X’ had the very firm notion that his mother should dote on him devotedly, with undivided attention. Apologetically, Dani said it looked like we were done unless we could try and include her son in the pictures, too.
I said, “If you’re OK with it, I am, too.”
The child was difficult. He flamed all his shots pictured with mummy, except one. I sent that to her. She was so photogenic. The situation was frustrating. After a minute of placating him, he became bored being on her lap and pulled away. At that exact moment, Dani reached into her Mary Poppins mommy bag and pulled out her umbrella.
I gasped. The slight modification of light changed my view immediately. What had been harsh and unforgivingly midday overhead light became diffuse and warm. There and then I took a closer look and saw Dani’s beautiful eyes. The greens and blues on the umbrella were a compliment to her red plastic adirondak chair. I visualized our image. I asked her if we could have one more go using the new prop.
With one crack at it, I made this shot. Then the child returned and made it clear the end had come for me, abruptly. I thanked her. Despite the child’s petulance, it was a brilliant ending.