People Ξ Rhythm Takes You

As I was photographing, this guy came up to me and..."asked" is probably too nice but "demanded" might be a bit strong...a copy of the picture in exchange for taking his photograph. It was incredibly hard to hear over the pounding of the drums, but I thought I caught some kind of veiled threat at the end of our conversation, something about "if I see you here again", but I refused to believe that the conversation had gone south so abruptly and chalked it up to the drumming. After seeing Haight Ashbury I brown bagged a beer and sat watching the drumming for a while longer before moving on. He was still there and waved to me....I think. I might have just caught him in a particularly inspired moment of drumming, but I chose to take it as a wave and left feeling good about the entire scene.

California is full of interesting people who are friendly in a way that people in other places I've been aren't. On the East Coast most people would rather step on your face than look you in the eye and that's the way I like it. Down South, the pleasant and cordial attitude scares the bejesus out of me. I am never comfortable there. In California, however, people were amiable in a way that I could handle. I found the people friendly but direct. Not a lot of bullshit, but still willing to talk to strangers. I appreciated that this guy was willing to walk up to me and press me for a picture...I'm happy to oblige.

I found the piece of paper he wrote his address on when I got back to Massachusetts and will be sending him a print of this picture as well as another I took as soon as I make another print order. Despite the problems with this photo, it's still one of my favorites from my trip. I think there was a real moment here that I managed to capture. This is probably the first time that I have really felt like I successfully photographed people, much less took successful candids. I learned a few things about taking this kind of photograph, and it's an experiment I hope to repeat.