Friday, May 8, 2009

The Shadow Boxer

This photo doesn’t remind me that our greatest victories are over our own limitations but it seems to say that to others who were not with me when I took it.

The image reminds me that in the realm of human behavior sheer lunacy can jump like jack from the box when you least expect it.

I've always been shy about taking a stranger's picture on the street. Street photography requires a certain social skill set or a complete lack of it. Some photographers slip in and out of crowds, smoothly and swiftly charming individual portraits out of bystanders and move on. Others bluntly shove a camera in someones face and click away.

Street photography offers evidence of life on Earth. It is hard to view a good street shot without contributing some emotional response.

Street photography is an art of recognition.

And with those lofty sentiments firmly embraced, I approached this fellow who was vigorously shadow boxing against an overpass wall in Central Park, New York City. Swings, swipes, triple jabs, rope-a-dope shuffles, feigns...he was pure disco with a bullet. I hung back about fifty feet and took a few shots at maximum telephoto, which was about 100mm with that camera. But I wanted to get in closer and I did.

20 feet.

The shadow boxer's head snapped my way as if he took a roundhouse right but it was me he was looking at. His face crumpled up into a bellow of rage and he stooped to pick up something that looked for all the world like a jockstrap with a rock in the pocket.

Now he's running straight for me, swinging this thing. I take off and the chase is on. I look over my shoulder, he's gaining on me, but some ball bearings fly out of the jock pouch and the shadow boxer stops to pick them up.

This is why I am alive today to tell the tale.

So you can look at this photo and see nobility in the conquests of demons within. I'm OK with that.

Just don't get too close when the process is running.

No comments:

Post a Comment