This is Terry Sansom, a man whose face is well known in central Melbourne. Each day, with official permission, Terry drives his old ute (utility vehicle) into the city and – wait for it – manoeuvres his weather-beaten old piano off the tailgate, onto a makeshift ramp and finally onto the pavement.
Then he wheels the piano to a convenient spot in the mall and begins to play. His music reverberates around Bourke Street and those who pass by drop coins into his little yellow plastic bucket.
When I took this shot, in April 2009, it was a rainy, gusty cold autumn day. Yet he sat there, belting out honky-tonk, jazz, pop and just about every genre you could think of. He told me he was about to head up north, to warmer climes – with his piano.
See his “tux”? Look closely at it. You see, it’s actually an old black T-shirt on which he has painted lapels, a bow tie, a collar and a pocket kerchief. At the end of our conversation, I asked him where he lived. “Wherever I park the ute, mate,” he replied simply.
I do not crop, enhance or post-edit my images in any way. Shot with a Pentax K100D, using a Sigma 18-125mm lens. F6.7, 1/30sec, ISO 400, focal length 50mm.
Featured in 50+, January 2011.