Around Da Block 4

April 2nd, 2013By Category: Photography


So its like 6-7am, I just got up and my stomach’s growling off the hook. I look outside and there is still a few inches of snow on the ground. I put on a couple of layers, grab my mountain boots and leave the house in search of food.

I decided to leave the camera indoors since it was 50/50 I would slip over on the ice and end up wrecking both myself and my camera in the process.

I find food and start heading back to the cave. The block I live on has a lot of roads, with side roads intersecting them. I look to my right and I see an old lady with two bags of rubbish standing in the middle of one of the intersecting roads (road is full of snow).
Her back is hunched over pretty badly, she is almost at a full 90 degrees.

I look but my legs keep on going.

After a few steps I stop and a voice in my head goes off, “Dafuq you doing dawg? Go help the old lady”. I shake my head to get rid of the voices and go back to help her. She was pretty much standing there in the same position she was a few seconds ago when I initially saw her.

I take the bags from her and ask her where she was gonna put it and she points at a spot a couple of steps ahead. I dispose of it and and she says, “Thank you very much, I thought I would be able to take the rubbish out but with this snow I guess it was too much for me”.

I tell her not to sweat it that even I am having mad troubles walking in these conditions. I tell her to take care of herself and to try not to overdo it and we both say bye.

Her house is like literally 3-4 steps away so I turn around on some, “My work here is done!!!!” shit and head home. I take two steps and look back and…as she tries to turn around she falls over.

My heart skips a beat and I run over to her. She had fell backwards and landed on her backside/back but fortunately didn’t hit her head.
I give her my hands and try to help her up, but helping someone up with your hands requires they do half of the work, so it didn’t work.

I tell her to chill and put my hands behind her back and literally picked her up. I asked her if she was ok multiple times and she said she was ok, so I helped her to her front door. She said thanks and how happy she was that I helped her and I was like dont worry about that, just seriously try not to do anything too reckless.

As I walked home I thought to myself, should I go back and speak to another person in the house and say that she fell over? You know how people are, if she was really hurt she probably would just try put on a tough face and not say anything, but each step I took away made it harder for me to turn around. In the end I pussied out and didn’t go back.

Felt pretty lame for that, shit was on the back of my mind for the next few days. Anytime I left the house and walked past her street I would peer down it hoping she might be there but she never was.

A couple of days later on the way to work I look down her road and dejavu. There she is again struggling carrying two rubbish bags.
I take them off her and place it at the disposal spot. She thanks me and says its nice that we were able to meet again.

I am kinda concerned at this point. Sure its not icy outside but why is she even doing this?

I ask her again if she lives alone and she said her son, his wife and 2 grand children making them a 5 person family in total. I asked her why she is throwing the rubbish out and she said its because everybody in the family is good to her and takes care of her so she kinda wants to do something nice for them.

I was pretty angry when I heard that but meh I wont even bother saying why. I asked her what she does in the downtime and she says just stays inside and does the laundry while everybody is out. I felt a vein in my head about to pop so I just kinda changed the subject again.

She told me that she used to be a housewife and never really had a career but that her hobby was running marathons. She told me about how she had ran marathons for 23 years and while she was not super fast she had won about 12 trophies which are hanging in her house.

The shocking thing? She started running marathons at the age of 63 and stopped at 85 because of bad legs and she is currently 92.

Shit blew my mind. Where im from they used to call us from upstairs to come downstairs to pass them the remote control that was literally arms reach away lol. People from like 40 upwards can barely walk 5 minutes to go to the corner store let alone run a marathon.

We kicked it a bit more and she told me about how she was married to a solider and had to go and live in China for a while during the war and about how she had some children living in the UK.

While I wanted to chill and speak more it was ridic cold outside. After hearing she was 92 I was pretty worried about her catching a cold so I decided to kinda just wrap it up and let her go back inside.

I asked her for a picture and she smiled and said thank you. I was about to take it with her just standing in the middle of the road when she gestured to me to give me her hand.

I gave it to her and she walked to the front of her house, took a deep breath and straightened her back so that I can take her photo.

Author of this article

Ade Ogunsanya

Taking portraits of strangers is becoming quite popular among photographers nowadays. I find that I normally see two types; 1) Complete focus on fashion with not much of a focus on technical photography 2) Technically sounds pictures that focus on repetition (taking the exact same headshot over and over again etc). What I strive for is a happy balance that incorporates a mix of good photography using composition and color theory and some elements of fashion.

For me it is more than just just collecting photos. The encounter and interaction is equally as important. The chance to meet new people and put a smile on people's faces is priceless.

If you see me around Tokyo with a big film camera on my neck come say hi and I will take your picture.

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