So there I was minding my own business along the Van Brienenoord bridge by the River Maas in Rotterdam. I was there partly to clear my head and partly to video graph the iconic bridge and also test some of the millions of functions on my camera I have never figured out earlier. I was just getting started when this young biker came along. In all my years in The Netherlands there has never been a time when a total stranger came to me and just stood there and started a conversation. At least not if he is not asking for direction or just saying hello and going his own way further. This is after all The Netherlands. You just don’t socialise with people you don’t know.
Not this guy. He just stopped and a conversation started between us. He was dressed in smart cycling attire. It turns out he was training for a yearly cross-country fund-raising charity cycling event known here as Alp Duzes. It also turns out he has just finished studying communication and multimedia Design at one of the universities in the region. We talked a while and it was as if we had known each other longer than 20 minutes.
Then I asked if I could make some pictures of him. I’ve made several pictures in my young career as a photographer but none yet of a biker. He said yes and went on to do a training run so that I could take snapshots of him in motion. At the end of our photo shooting session, I ended up taking 300+ pictures of him. He was one happy biker and I was one happy snapper!
We exchanged numbers and he gave me his email address and I promised to send the pictures to him; unedited in Photoshop or any other programs. The issue was time constraint. I am also not a huge fan of Photoshop anyway. I am probably still old school. I believe photography is in what your eyes see in the split second before you press the shutter. It is not how much you are willing to manipulate reality afterwards behind your computer. If your picture and/or your subject turn out imperfect, so be it. It keeps you sharp for your next shoot. Don’t get me wrong. I use Photoshop too. But Photoshop does not use me, if you get my point!
So the next day, I selected the best 40+ pictures and sent them to him. I think I made him even happier. I have seen his Facebook page now. He has one of the pictures as his cover picture and another one as his profile picture! I have to say he has got good tastes too because he selected some of the pictures I also thought were the best ones!
It is funny reading the comments on the pictures. His friends apparently like the pictures too. His take on how the pictures were made got me laughing and satisfied too. He wrote that he just coincidentally met a very friendly African guy who took the pictures. I think it takes a friendly guy to recognise another.
In 40 minutes on a sunny winter day, I think I made a new friend while sharpening my photographic skills! Thank you mister happy biker!