Yesterday I stopped on Fulton Beach Road to take a few exposures of the bay with my film camera.There was an older gentleman sitting on the sea wall smoking a cigarette staring out at the water. I let him be as I got as close the water as I could and stopped on my way back to ask him if he would mind snapping a picture of me (since I was dressed like an adult for once in my life and didn't have crumbs or poop on me)
He said "Oh wow... SURE! Ya know, back in the 80s before digital took over I was a photographer" "Oh really? What kind of work did you do?" "Portrait, landscape, wedd-LOTS of weddings. All on film."
He began to tell me about all of the cameras he used, all of his favorite film stocks, formats, and processing techniques. He lost himself in between puffs of his smoke and memories. He rubbed his fingers together talking about the beautiful silvery black and whites he'd pull up in the darkroom. He said "Back then, there wasn't room for amateurs. A true photographer would go broke, spending every penny he had on hundreds of rolls of film. And he knew the value of using every last shot. Now anyone can pick up a camera... Of course you can get one good shot if you shoot thousands of frames!" He put out his cigarette and stuffed it back into it's carton and said "Well, before we lose our light, let's get your picture."
First I asked if he could take his picture, and he obliged.
I rolled my ankle as I got the camera back from him. After making sure I was okay he said "well, you saved the camera, and that's what matters" in a cheeky way. As I was limping back to my car he hollered out "OH! And when you're shooting birds" (because that's a thing I'm SO passionate about, hehe) "Remember to never look them in the eye. As soon as you do, you've become a predator. And then you've lost your bird and your shot." I laughed and nodded my head, thanking him for the advice as he pulled his cigarette back out to enjoy with all of the fresh air he was accidentally getting. He was kind and encouraging and I'm grateful for the little moment we shared