After grabbing a few frames I asked him his name and he asked me what kind of lens was on the camera. It was the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. He asked a few more questions that indicated he knew more about cameras/lenses than the average person. He went on to say that at one point he had over 200 cameras - mostly 35mm rangefinders. He was a camera collector. How cool is that! I loved hearing him talk about some of the cameras that stood out to him. One in particular was an old screw mount Leica. The picture below shows him demonstrating how he loaded film into the Leica from the bottom.
"I was always more interested with the technique/calculation of taking pictures rather than the subject. When the digital revolution took over the camera world I lost interest, because the need for technique/calculation went away." David no longer dabbles in photography. He never made the film to digital transition.
**Side note, this is why it is vital that you, the photographer, make images that resonate with your soul. If you're only concerned with the mechanics of picture taking, you will have a hard time staying inspired.
Our conversation turned to his time at the Indianapolis Star as a proof reader in the news department. He made an offhand comment that his supervisor always rode the proof readers pretty hard. They were the ones responsible for any/every error that was published. The most commonly corrected error? Letters getting mixed up as a result of the journalists typing too fast for the typewriter mechanism. He then launched into the history of the keyboard and the introduction of the QWERTY layout. A generally accepted theory for QWERTY is that it slowed down the typist to prevent the typewriter from jamming and "double typing" so frequently. Which begs the question, why is QWERTY still around since computers are "slightly" faster than mechanical typewriters. Why doesn't industry move to a more efficient keyboard layout?
David asked why I was in the area and I explained the photo shoot with Goodbye June and their upcoming a concert at The Hi-Fi just a block away. He asked what type of music I preferred. I didn't have a good answer. I like too many different genres. I turned the question towards him. Before I knew it, David whipped out a harmonica from his shirt pocket and started playing "How Great Thou Art." It was lovely.
Our conversation dwindled down and I thanked him for spending his time with me. It was such an awesome experience. My hope is that I become more and more comfortable approaching complete strangers and having conversations with them. It is so rewarding when those strangers open up. It gets the creative juices flowing!
If you're in Fountain Square and you see a fella with an orange hat, go say "Hi". He's a friendly person :)
Thanks for sticking around to the end.