On the evening of July 27, I was in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts for a special freelance photo gig.
The event was the final home tennis match of The Boston Lobsters 2015 season. The Lobsters are one of seven professional teams competing in the Mylan World TeamTennis League founded 40 years ago by the legendary Billie Jean King.
I arrived in the hour when the home team players warm up, the event staff is setting up for the incoming crowd, and the media reps are sorting out equipment and posts for viewing the action. I learned that the evening would be broadcast on national cable TV. This was a benefit to me later, as additional lights were already set up to aid in the recording for the TV cameras.
The Manchester Athletic Club hosts the home Lobster tennis matches in a pristine outdoor court. The matches were to begin around 7:30PM, and it was the first time I was using my camera gear at an outdoor sporting event where we would be transitioning from afternoon to dusk to night. While I was considering the direction of the setting sun in relation to the places where I would be permitted to take photographs, I met my stranger 62/100 in a courtside designated media box.
Daniel, 20 y/o, is enrolled at Connecticut College and entering junior year. He is a history major, a tennis player and professional tennis buff. Plying his liberal arts education and enthusiasm for tennis, he secured a summer marketing internship with the Lobsters organization. One of his tasks was to ghostwrite match recaps for publication on the team’s website. After preparing many of these pieces, he requested and finally was granted a byline. I congratulated him on generating quality tangibles for a portfolio.
This fall, Daniel is going to spend the upcoming fall semester “studying” in Seville, Spain. It’s a very exciting time in his young adult life. Off the topic of the tennis matches at hand, we had a lot to talk about since I had studied in Europe during my junior year of college, too. He wanted to hear what I thought he had to look forward to. I wanted to make sure to include how it might feel to re-enter campus life in the spring after a dynamic and self-reliant experience away from home, longtime friends and family.
At the beginning of our introductions to each other, I noticed that he had nothing substantial to do once his laptop was set up for recording match notes for his article. Once I made sure he was old enough to become a subject in 100 Strangers, I invited him to join my project and be photographed. He agreed.
This portrait was made while Daniel was sitting in the media box before we really had our bearings on each other. He did not actually sit still for long. I went for my shot in between palpable vibrations in the structure upon which we were sharing space. The spectator stand and media box is a raised platform that is above and to the side of the tennis court.
I would have preferred more headroom on this portrait. My biggest concern was finding the right moment when he was motionless long enough to focus on his eyes before he would change posture and position. Daniel is an optimistic, upstanding, well-spoken young man. I wish him the best life experience from his upcoming university exchange in Spain.
Here is a link to his byline: