Having photographed a number of waves yesterday, and chosen a surfer for my portrait I wanted an appropriate title. Soft Cell‘s “Say Hello and Wave Goodbye” was playing on my mind for some time, but even the most tenuous links to my pictures weren’t happening for me, so I ended up with a song by Sting against my better judgement. To be fair, I do love the Dream of the Blue Turtles, probably because the band he assembled included a shipload of jazz talent including Omar Hakim, Kenny Kirkland and the incredibly lyrical saxophonist Branford Marsalis. Love is the Seventh Wave provided my inspiration; appropriate as there is an urban myth amongst surfers that the 7th wave is always better than the six that precede it.
Anyway, I digress. Earlier in the day before deciding on my wave theme I had an idea that shooting people candidly at bus stops might be interesting. Waiting for buses requires people to find a way of passing the time or engaging in polite, and perhaps unwanted, conversation with someone else in the queue. Either might produce some interesting expressions or movement.
I shot a few odds and ends but was saving myself for the bus station thinking that I would find a wealth of material there. It proved otherwise, the waiting areas just weren’t conducive to my needs, but the same harsh light that has been around this week was cutting a swathe through an opening in the side of the building. I was reminded of another image by Trent Parke from his Dream/Life series, and whilst there wasn’t enough darkness around to replicate the full effect with a wide shot, I was able to frame a couple of passers-by who were dressed in light clothing against a darker background to get the effect shown here.
In each case though I think they needed a mass of normally exposed people around them to give them the truly surreal effect. As it is they look a lot like mistakes so I gave the idea no more thought. (This the second time I’ve failed to replicate his work!)
So back to the 7th Wave, and having chosen that option I googled it to remind myself more of the thinking behind the theory, and was vaguely aware that the images option seemed to consist largely of underwater shots of people in turbulent water. I thought no more of it until this evening when I was researching Mr Parke once more. There were the same images, from a collection entitled… The Seventh Wave. How spooky is that?
I went out the following day to shoot my portrait, which is of John, with no attempt to emulate Parke. I wanted to find someone at a bus stop but bumped into John just beside one (that counts doesn’t it?) and knew I wanted to photograph him. I’m normally not a fan of spot colour, but when I realised that he would be my entry for 11th November it seemed the right thing to do.