"Hey man I just got out of prison". That's the first thing he said as he ran up next to me. I was walking on my own, in a different country, with a fairly expensive rented film camera in hand, moving at a pretty moderate pace to beat the sunset. This expensive black and white film doesn't work well in lowlight and I did NOT want to waste it. He kept up with me and continued to ask me questions about the camera. I had obvious concerns about his intentions, but I answered his questions.
As we walked, we spoke about photography, food, the arts. I quickly realized there was something to this guy. I introduced myself as Jordan, from Texas. We shook hands as he introduced himself as Jose from Spain. So I finally asked, "so what do you need?". He told me the government is offering him state housing but its not available for another 3 days. I had no reason not to believe him, but I let him know I couldn't offer him a place to sleep as my girlfriend is never pleased when I bring strange men home. He laughed. Instead, I offered him a trade.
He said there was a homeless shelter close by that costs 7 pounds per night. I offered him the $30 US dollars I had in my wallet if he would tell me his story and let me take his photograph. He agreed. I knew the photo would turn out blurry because of how dark it was at this point. He started to tell me about his prison sentence but I interrupted and asked, "What do you like to do and what do you want to do now that you're out?".
He's a skilled baker and operated a small bakery before his sentencing and would like to open and operate a new one in London after he gets his feet on the ground. .
We chatted for a bit. I listened studiously to his baking guidance. As we were walking away, I thought about telling him to pick a new opening line when meeting people out in the world, but he beat me to the punchline with:
“You have a weird accent. Enjoy London!"
Well played Jose from Spain. I still don’t know what he did to get into prison, but the film was definitely not wasted.
🎞 #ilfordorthoplus - 13 minutes ago