Sunday, August 03, 2008

A Problem?

Image: man three stories up, working from a mobile cherry picker bucket, fixing a building’s façade one evening.

Some photos go into my “50 Years From Now” file. Documents of ordinary objects that at this time aren’t that unusual. But decades from now, changing technology may make that telephone kiosk or fire truck obsolete. Then it will look quaint.

Maybe in the future construction workers will be using free-floating buckets, hovering in the sky with any physical support thanks to a scientific breakthrough. If not, at least the style of a cherry picker will change, just like cars have over the years.

So that evening I take out my camera and snap a shot for posterity: Worker In Elevated Bucket, 2008. I had forgotten that my flash was still on. Noticing the small light burst, the worker looks down at me. From his perch up high he stares at me as I walk across the street.

What’s the problem? He’s in public view. I’m not interfering with his work. My compact camera’s flash is too puny to hurt his eyes. I’m doing nothing wrong.

Later I hear a story on the street that a downtown shop is calling it quits due to a considerable drop in sales. It rents a spot in a building being renovated and the construction work has interfered with its business. Complaints against the renovator regarding possible violations have been made. Proper procedures being ignored, customer hit by a small falling object, no warning tape or cones on sidewalk, scaffolding blocking the entrance, whatever. Or so the story goes.

Me, I don’t seek out rumors or controversy. Usually I just want to take photos.

But I also don’t like being stared at over nothing.

When the worker kept an eye on me after I took my shot, I felt like yelling up at him, repeating the old line:

“Hey, take a picture. It’ll last longer.”

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