Behind a picture (2): Stan

Most of the time, there is no great technical skill or breathtaking scenery. In some cases the value of the image is simply in the story, and having gained the trust of the owner of the story /


Connesville, Pennsylvania, June 29, 2017 /

That night we had to sleep on the floor of a garage. An entire day of bicycle could not have such a boring ending!

We deserved more.

We put on our best clothes and we went to the village bar. That meant, across the street. The entrance was scary: a long dark hallway and at the end a large lounge, a pool table and a smokey room. We hesitated a moment but finally we took courage and with a steady walk we faced the surprised looks of the locals.

In fact, the bartender, Stan, was scary: tattooed, big and serious. American, born in Taiwan because of the military destiny of his father. At the age of seven, Stan stepped on the soil of his nation for the first time, to become, years later, a soldier.

«Did the army treat you well?» I asked. He stretched out both arms and asked me: «Which arm is the shortest?» It was not difficult to notice the difference: the left one, I told him. «Well, that’s the only thing left to me by the army,» and he stared at me as if to say «Do you understand, boy?»

Beside my indiscreet questions, an hour later Stan was treating us with us beers. He did not ask us. He opened the bottles and putted them in front of us. Shortly, after a while we left the bar tumbling towards our garage-room, and in one of our four hands a paper with his address: «I wait for you tomorrow. If you need a shower, some rest or whatever…», he had said. Then he added in Spanish: «Mi casa es su casa». And he finished with this warning: «I hope you’re not afraid of dogs.»

We could have turned the invitation down. That morning, we could have dawned, prepared the bicycles and started pedaling. But no.

Not every day a bartender invites you to breakfast.

At his home we finished knowing his story. Bartending is his secondary job. Because what this tough guy really does is to manage, along with his wife, a non-profit that aims to assist children of the community with food, clothing and educational activities.

What do you think? This guy was a bog surprise.

– Hey, Stan. Can I take you a picture?
– Sure.

How did I take the picture?

First I made a test with the empty room. I liked the furniture, the colors, but not the light. I turned on the two lamps but it was insufficient, so I opened the curtain to improve the amount of light. When Stan arrived he sat in the middle. I did not like it. I wanted to have him more ahead and in a corner. I asked him to move where I had opened the curtain. Then I took out some things that were on the table that could have distracted the observer. I adjusted my camera and everything was ready. But … something was wrong. The dogs were sleeping. I whistled loudly to wake them up, and right when they lifted their heads, I squeezed the trigger.

Technical details:

Camera: Canon 700D
Lens: Sigma 17-50mm F / 2.8 DC OS HSM
ISO: 400
Speed: 1/50
Aperture: 2.8
Lighting: Natural and artificial.
Editing: Lightroom. Only basic exposure values and contrast were changed.

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