The Photographer’s Box

On the ocassionally agonising process of being secretly photographed or, worse, someone stealing a picture while you gradually realise and your body begins to tense to rigor mortis levels as you freeze and attach your photo grimace.

I not posing, really

The reverie on light and cloud and sky, the beige descriptive patter interrupted by the squeeze of a photographer’s button.

The slow focus crackle as the lenses stretches itself, unfolding towards you. The trigger like the silencer on a gun as it happened. Confused like prey, like woodland vermin in the beam of a torch, fixed for inspection like an insect on the entomologist’s slab, atrophied by the muffled shot.

Half blind in the peach-tinged half light that seeps through the bus’ window but they see. The camera clicks sharp and restless moving around you as you hold your breath, suffocating while the photograph comes alive, slowly searing your colours onto film and print.

Indignant and exposed you stay stock still, a stubborn turn of the head, the stiffening of the jaw, a tick in the cheek gives you up. Then the surrender, the imperceptible straightening of the spine, the sullen lift of the chin, the concentrated look of ambivalence, remember; frame within a frame, smile with your eyes, create leading lines. All seen, all captured, all digested to be looked at later, now.

Excruciatingly aware now as he swims just beyond the arch of your pupil, moves to swap an eye for his camera. Stooping low in the milky space beyond the curve of your vision, hunched over the body of it like a mantis, like a hawk with its catch.

Then it’s done and the photographer straightens, the camera’s face is lowered, cradled unconsciously in his hands, blinkered by a lens cap. We both exhale.

Curiosity forces you to ask and, what you see caught on the hard, little screen, spread in a wash of pastels and light, is so lovely and so pleasing that you forgive, you accept. The photographer and his magic box.

The photographer in question is my hugely talented friend, Simon Tupper. Some of his infinitly more beautiful work can be found on his website, Simon Tupper Photography.

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