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Robert Watcher

The power of a print

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During our 2008 Costa Rica Adventure - while wondering through the streets of Alajuela, I came across a fellow in a wheelchair, working on motorcycles in a small garage in amongst retail stores and homes on a side street. It was evident that he was dealing with customers at that time and so I kept track of the location and checked back a few times to see if I would be able to get a shot of him working.

It never happened. 2 or 3 times I went there and the place was closed.Then one day near the end of our stay, I passed by and he and a couple of friends were sitting chatting. I just walked by as I did not want to disturb them - - - but then realized that may be my only chance to photograph him, so turned around and approached and asked if I could take a picture of them (again, I implied - as they did not speak English and I did not speak Spanish).

I only saw them and interacted with them for one brief minute - and then on the day that I left Costa Rica, I went by the shop to drop off the small 4x6 print that I had printed for him to keep. He wasn't there and so I left it with the fellow looking after the shop.

. . . . well this particular day during our 2009 trip one year later, I returned to the area where I remembered this shop to be. I didn't know what to expect, but was shocked when they recognized me walking up the street approaching the garage. Friendly smiles and welcome by all - and then when I stated that I took a "foto" of them last year, they said "Yes Yes, it is right there"(pointing to the black and white oil covered print glued to the wall).I was extremely proud and thanked them profusely for valuing the small print of a stranger so much that they would display it in full view even a year later.

The ice was broke and I asked if I could take pictures of him working on a motorcycle. That has been "one of my main goals since last year for when I returned". I said to keep his "ojos" (eyes) on the cycle and not me. He and the others complied. I left so satisfied.

Here are a few of the shots:



After I took the pictures of them working, left - only to return realizing that i had to have a shot
of my picture from last year on their wall, to complete the story.



Here is a closer view of the picture as I posted it on our Journal in 2008


And here are 3 of several shots that I took this day in 2009, to complete the story of this man and his motorcycle repair shop:



Olympus E-510 : 12-60mm @ 12mm : f5.6 @ 1/125'th : 800 ISO



Olympus E-510 : 12-60mm @ 24mm : f5.6 @ 1/200'th : 800 ISO



His young intern in behind working inside the shop
Olympus E-510 : 12-60mm @ 32mm : f5.6 @ 1/40'th : 800 ISO

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Comments

  1. Ian's Avatar
    Great subjects, Rob. Apart from the mono shot, I sense a subtle desaturation of the colours.
  2. John Perriment's Avatar
    That's a great story with a strong human element. Not only does it illustrate the power of a print, it also demonstrtes the value of getting to know your subject and earning their trust before starting to shoot.
  3. Stephen's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by John Perriment
    That's a great story with a strong human element. Not only does it illustrate the power of a print, it also demonstrtes the value of getting to know your subject and earning their trust before starting to shoot.
    I would very much agree John, I would also go so far as to say that it takes a certain amount of courage for many people to do this sort of thing especially when you don't speak the language.