Thursday, February 23, 2012

how to save a project

it took a nation to make this project possible, and this woman, in particular, saved the nation on this windy day that her portrait was made (one year ago today). i had spotted her walking through a parking lot in one of the busiest areas of town. she walked with strength and poise, and her hair was magnificent in the afternoon light. i made a slightly dangerous move in traffic to pull quickly into the parking lot to cut her off before she disappeared into thin air. i surprised her a bit in my hustling, but she was easy-going and willing, and we were then on our way to some quick pics. on the curb, near a column, i put down my notebook that contained the release form that i needed her to sign to give me the rights to publish the photos. in that notebook were probably close to fifty other forms, most of them signed, none of them secured in the notebook with any type of fastener or pocket. as i said, it was windy... and BOOM! i heard the flopping open of my notebook and the flapping sound of all those forms taking flight. it was now a moment of panic. with my nice camera in hand i began chasing down each very important form. without these signed sheets, i could not have any idea who the people were that i had photographed, and i surely couldn't publish their images. i scurried... i simultaneously glanced quickly and often around the lot to take note of what was happening. mostly, the sheets were somehow sticking to the pavement... occasionally, a gust would get one, two, or three, and carry them several feet or so and then slam them back down. in the meantime, my subject here was hustling like an olympian in and out of parked cars, under them, whatever... she was saving my ass one sheet at a time. what force kept the bustling winds from carrying these sheets up, up, and away? i have no idea. i do know that this woman was a magical force of human nature, and i can not thank her enough. she jumped in with nothing to gain, and then a couple who had exited one of the nearby stores even joined in on the escapades. needless to say, with the two of us scrambling under, behind, and around their car, they couldn't leave if they wanted to. it was a disaster clean-up party that took about four minutes but seemed like so much more. i am fairly sure that we retrieved every one of the papers that had taken flight, but i am still not 100% sure. it was one of those moments that i will always remember about this project. it was touching to have someone with no "connection" to me prove through a simple action that they are connected to me... we are humans on earth who need some help.

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