How much closer can you get? Will you take a once in a lifetime opportunity or play it safe and practical? These questions and more were things I had to ask with this shot.
I had just finished shooting the grand opening gala for The Chicago Architectural Resource Center. I packed up my gear, wished everyone a good night, and went outside to order a ride to the train station to go home. The surge pricing and the wait time made a ride to Union Station not a viable option. I was going to have to walk over a mile.
I had no idea what the reason for the delay was until I finished cutting through the Fulton Market District. Mexican Independence Day. It was a caravan as far far as the eye could see completely choking the Chicago loop with bumper to bumper traffic.
When you are carrying thousands of dollars in gear in a back pack, safety is on the mind. But there is also opportunity for amazing street photography. Since traffic was moving in inches, I walked in the middle of the street shooting as I went.
Cars, motorcycles, pick up trucks, and people all joyously waving the Mexican flag and shouting gleefully. I took snaps as I went and the engagement was always welcoming and full of support. The middle of it all was my safest place to walk.
A mere 2 blocks away from the train station entrance I found myself with minutes to spare to make the next train and this moment. Everyone in the pickup truck saw me as a took the picture. The picture was lacking. I was not close enough. Taking my own advice and photo master Capa’s thoughts on “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough,” I got closer. As I got in closer I took delight in the woman on top posing for the upcoming shot and the young man towards the bottom waving at me. Getting closer created a decisive moment and capture out of camera that I am proud of.
Then came the offer. The young man said, “There’s room, wanna join us?” The woman said, “Yeah, hop in!” I looked at my watch and then back at them. Their light is about to turn to turn green and I am at zero hour where I will have to hustle to make the train. I said I had to go to work in the morning, but thank you.
The guy yelled one ore time as I started to jog away, “Are you sure?” I stopped and looked at him and told him the truth, “No.”
I made the train. I got home at Midnight. I got a few hours of sleep in and I went to work.
Get closer, create the intimacy and the moment, be friendly and kind, be appreciative of each shot. And if a group of strangers asks you to get in a pick up truck, get in the pick up truck. Life is too short and I will never know the shots I missed and the friends I could have made.
I should have gotten in the truck.
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