Today (Tuesday June 27, 2017) I did something I really enjoy doing during the Edmonton Jazz Fest – going to Churchill Square at noon and taking in the free jazz performance on The Works stage. These events are especially delightful on warm, sunny early summer days. Alas, today was not one of those days. It was cloudy, cool and a bit of rain came down (at least during the first set).
However, the jazz performance put on by the Brett Hansen trio, made putting up with the elements, worthwhile.
The Brett Hansen Trio
The trio comprises Brett Hansen on guitar, Murray Wood on bass and Jamie Cooper on drums.
A chance encounter last Saturday afternoon, while walking through downtown Edmonton brought a smile to my face.
I was walking around for a couple of hours with my camera, getting some exercise and taking some pictures – mostly landscape, architectural or just interesting stuff or angles. As I walked down Jasper Avenue east of the Convention Centre I passed a group of guys hanging out. This is an area where transient and homeless people often spend their days, so I generally avoid eye contact and keep to myself.
As I passed these guys, I had my earbuds in (listening to some jazz tunes). I thought I heard one of them make a comment and ask if I would take their picture. Not sure exactly what I had heard and not wanting to be rude I pulled out my earbud and asked if they wanted me to take their picture and said sure if they wanted. The four of them quickly got organized into a close group, put on good genuine smiles and I took this photo:
Edmonton’s Least Wanted
After taking the photo and starting to leave one of them suggested that I post it on the nearby bus shelter, and title it “Edmonton’s Most Wanted”. Then someone said “No, call it Edmonton’s LEAST Wanted”. I smiled farewell and continued on my way.
This is not the first time (in fact I think it is the fourth) that I’ve been asked by strangers in the downtown area to take their photos. None of these people would ever have thought that they would see the photos but nonetheless they wanted their image captured. I don’t know why but that makes me happy. I am happy to be able to do this little thing for them and I am happy for the genuine smile that each one of them presented to me, to the camera.
Another (the third) in my unplanned series of portraits of Edmonton citizens. What I find interesting is that these people all asked me to take their photo. I never went out planning to take portraits of random people on the street, I never asked them if I could take their photo. They asked me and I have had no reason not to.
This gentleman approached me as I was walking home. He said to me, something to the effect, “May I ask you a question?; please don’t judge me” He went on to tell me his story: He has had better days but now finds himself homeless, living in the river valley. Most saddening he says he has lung cancer and only 2 months to live.
Nonetheless, he appeared strong, his voice and spirit, that afternoon. He asked me to take his photo and asked if I would post it online. I said I probably would if that was okay with him. Regrettably I did not write down his name and have forgotten. But we shall not forget his face and spirit.
My other street portraits posts:
Will You Take My Picture?