This week, I met three very interesting photographers. Clearly I’m still in writer’s mode because I decided to spend the few minutes I had on the bus chatting to them rather than taking their photo.
Giuliano. He’s a 70-year-old Italian photographer.
When I meet him, he’s staring at his iPhone, looking bemused. Unlike the other photographers, he’s not kitted up in slick black North Face trousers and a Gore Tex jacket. He’s wearing baggy blue tracksuit bottoms, a striped cotton top. Wispy grey hair pokes out from under his faded red cap.
This is his 24th Olympics. He’s done twelve Summer and twelve Winter. His first Olympics was Tokyo in 1964. It was these early Olympics that he liked the most, his favourite being Mexico in 1968 “because I was young then!” He says there was far less control over photographers back then, but understandably everything changed after the Munich massacre in 1972.
I asked him where he’s off to next. He said the World Cup in Rio later this year. I mention that England aren’t likely to do very well, even though we’re always hoping for a re-run of 1966 – does he remember that? “Oh yes,” he says, “I was there.”
Ben. He’s a conflict photographer from New York. No high-tech winter gear here, just a decent Canon 1DX, a beanie and a strong New York accent.
The first thing he says to me is: “Who comes home from school and says, ‘Mom, I want to slide head-first down a sheet of ice at 130kph for a hobby?'” He wears a brown beaded necklace and wants to live by the beach one day.
The last few years have been spent touring the likes of Afghanistan, Iran, Syria. Ben rarely spends time at home but wishes he could see his wife and sons more.
He’s now on assignment for Harper’s Magazine to shoot a spread on the Winter Olympics. Among all the atrocities he’s seen, he also once saw a packet of Special K on sale in South Sudan for US$27.
Erich. He looks like Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark, minus the hat. Freckled, sun-weathered skin and a Southern accent gives away the fact that he lives in Austin, Texas.
If you ever go to Texas, he says don’t bother with Dallas or Houston. Do bother with the SXSW music festival. He skis and surfs. His first ever published photo was a guy surfing in Texas for Surfer Magazine. Yep, Texas has surf.
He has a daughter who’s just about to turn 14. He really likes the ITV show Doc Martin and has only ever visited London and Brighton in the UK. He didn’t think much of Brighton beach.