Street photography can mean capturing fleeting moments in peoples lives. Sometimes you snap the shot and walk on by, sometimes you engage your subject, other times, they engage you.
Two years ago I was out on a the night before halloween I was shooting the costumed, bar hopping masses that populate george street and surrounding area on such an occasion. I hung out in areas where I could use shop window light as a source and so I could properly make out who I was about to shoot before it happened. Late in the evening, a cyclist who didn’t look like a cyclist, and and didn’t look like he was wearing a costume came towards me. I fired a frame of him biking by, and he slowed his pace and turned around and Asked me what I was doing. I told him the usual: “I’m taking photos of interesting people, its good night for it.” and so on. Normally that disarms people, they accept that I found them interesting enough to snap a shot of and they walk away. Not this time.
He introduced himself as Mark Fancey. He was an artist out on the move, selling his art. Mark asked if I wanted to see some and I obliged. It wasn’t the type of work that really interested me, but he had talent. We spoke for a while, I took a few out of focus street portraits of him and he was on his way.
Since that night i’d come across Mark a few more times. Most of the shots i’d taken of him I trashed because of bad composition or missed focus, or he was biking by and the motion blur wasn’t how i’d wanted it to turn out.
Every time we’d meet while I was out taking photos, Mark would ask me if I could send him a few shots, he wanted to use them as promo photos. I was never quite happy with the ones i’d snapped of him but he was nothing if not persistent, so i tried on a few occasions to send them to him. The emails bounced back. Finally he stopped me a few months ago, late summer i believe, and gave me his email address again.
I never got around to sending the photos.
A week ago I was invited by a Facebook contact to attend a memorial art show. For Mark Fancey. He died. Passed away in the company of his family, in hospital.
Its a weird feeling, I didn’t know the guy. But I had this intimate 1/125th of a second with him, where there’s a connection between you, the camera and the subject. His unsure smile, frozen. Now he’s gone.
In our few brief encounters, he had pestered me almost to the point of annoyance. I figured i’d eventually get around to sending the photos, and last night I sent them to the organizer of a memorial show for Mark. It feels almost eerie.
So yea, it sounds corny, but never take for granted the people you meet, even if just for a fraction of a second. Also, if you Knew Mark, encountered him or bought some of his art, and want to pay tribute to him, there’s a Memorial art showcase from 5PM – Midnight at Distortion on March 15th. check out this facebook page for more information.