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To each his own by Rhoufi

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Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia
Candid Street Photography

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To each his own

A street performer checks out his hat in the two way mirrored glass before calling attention to himself;

a man rests his chin in his hand, thinking on his poor choice of shoes for winter in Melbourne – “Man… I wish I’d turned the light on this morning when I got dressed”;

a woman covets his thongs, considers stealing his water bottle;

a quiet woman hunches forward over her mobile phone to make an appointment she will regret;

a boy leaps down the terraced steps with glee;

a girl calls out to him and runs to hide;

a couple holds hands not realizing their affair has been caught by a lens;

a dancer, overwhelmed with the joy of movement, threads the crowd like a fleeing eel;

iPod music piped into the nostalgic ear of an old man transforms a Goth teenager into a goddess;

our thinker shifts his worries to the half empty water bottle and embraces one more regret – “I knew I should have bought the big one.”

the lonely are confused by a mixture of sadness and peace;

the harassed hope for some unholy accident;

the hen-pecked lag behind, drift sideways;

the shy risk a smile;

the idle loiter;

the never-satisfied continue their hunting;

every person has a story……

And below our line of sight, avoiding the careless feet of the crowd, a pigeon runs the gauntlet of the bottom step and plucks swiftly at the scattered crusts: “I wish they’d improve their diet, this white bread is killing me…”

All the time the crowd scans itself, preens, moves left, right, resists the urge to surge.

For one sweet moment, our street performer, in his white shirt, red baggies and dapper carny cap, will draw them to him, distracting them, transporting them along a brief trajectory different from yesterday or even tomorrow.

They will go with him long enough to forget their worries and wants, long enough to deflect, momentarily, the direction of their lives.

Hopefully, someone will experience a joy otherwise overlooked; and with an even greater fortune someone might avoid doing something they will regret forever.

Some will laugh out loud and clap their hands; others will use their hands to hide the flash of braces or the sunshine of an escaping grin.

The Square hasn’t been treating its street performers terribly well lately. The audience will not appreciate the abuse facing our busker, sweaty from juggling his long knives on a monocycle, taking his rich and earthy fumes home on a tightly packed tram.

The chaotic life of the plaza crowd: hurrying, pausing, stopping, seeking, listening, wondering, sighing, hesitating, doubting, resuming, lurching forward, and passing through.

It moves like a flock of starlings, swooping, veering, soaring beyond the camera frame; always moving on, to who-knows-where.

Another Sunday afternoon in Fed Square, alive and well – mostly.

Contributors: Linda Brammer; Robin King; Victoria McGuire; Georgie Hart:

Contributions from visiting bubblers are shown in italics

Last edited on 26/09/2010 to incorporate the voice of an overlooked pigeon by Georgie Hart

Bubblers visiting this page might like to attribute their own short fantasy to a member of our crowd (visible or otherwise). Place yourself in our crowd and imagine, fantasize; put it in a comment and I’ll blend it into the description

To reveal art and conceal the artist,
is art’s aim.

Oscar Wilde – “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

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  • LBrammer
    LBrammerover 4 years ago

    Every person has a story…………Brilliant Rhoufi! :-D

  • Thank you Linda. I was being a bit mischievous with this, I must admit. I love to imagine all sorts of things going on in my photos – it sort of brings them to life, in a way. This was just full of people doing disconnected things, so I thought I’d have a play with reality. Thanks heaps for the fav.

    – Rhoufi

  • Hi Linda, just thought I’d let you know I have added part of your comment to my story (see the italic about halfway down); thanks in advance.

    – Rhoufi

  • Aconcagua
    Aconcaguaover 4 years ago

    People watching is one of my favourite pastimes :)..Thanks for sharing this “entertaining” scene Rhoufi

  • Hi James, yes people watching is the stock in trade for a street photographer. I see stories in everyone’s actions, posture, body language (of course, everyone does have their unique story). The milling around in Fed Square always fascinates me. I hope those in this shot don’t mind my wild imaginings. Thanks for the visit.

    – Rhoufi

  • robpixaday
    robpixadayover 4 years ago

    I LOVE this!! It’s like a novel! Or a collection of short stories…..and you composed it beautifully. Everything flows so well!

  • Thank you Robin, somehow I knew you would enjoy this.

    – Rhoufi

  • robpixaday
    robpixadayover 4 years ago

    I think the gentleman on the left who’s sitting down is thinking: “Why did I wear these sandals today? Everyone else is wearing shoes. I look like a fool. Even my wife has shoes on. They’re MY shoes, though. Aren’t they? Did she think I wouldn’t notice my shoes if she wore those baggy brown pants? She’s staring at me. Am I wearing her pants? Man… I wish I’d turned the light on this morning when I got dressed.”

    Well, maybe.

  • Cool Robin, I have taken your thread and added it to the story (see the italics) – much better than the mat. Thank you so much, it’s so cool when people join in.

    – Rhoufi

  • Victoria McGuire
    Victoria McGuireover 4 years ago

    The thinker on the bench bemoans the fact that his waterbottle is almost empty. “I knew I should have bought the big one….I wonder if that woman in the baggy brown pants has any hidden away?” Little does he know that she’s hoarding it all for her husband’s quick sluice down after his gig. Federation Square hasn’t been treating its street performers terribly well. So many complain about the sad lack of shower facilities! I mean, after all, nobody likes to sit close to an off-duty street performer on the tram when he’s simply not nice to be near! Great shot Rhoufi, Cheers, V. :^)

  • Thanks V. And thanks for the material. I need to distill your para down to a few lines, but it’s a cool insight – leave it with me for a bit. I’ll send another reply when I merge it. This is fun, thanks for joining in.

    – Rhoufi

  • Thank you for your little fantasy Victoria, I have woven parts of your story into the tale. And so it grows with the swirling imagination of the crowd. Thank you for joining in.

    – Rhoufi

  • Victoria McGuire
    Victoria McGuireabout 4 years ago

    You’ve woven the ideas in so well! Great stuff, Rhoufi, keep going with this and your other ‘stories’ – it’s a real treat to read :^)) V.

  • Thanks V, it’s all the more fun when others join in. Good on you.

    – Rhoufi

  • Georgie Hart
    Georgie Hartabout 4 years ago

    Oh this is fabulous, so many expressive beings just existing… I think there’s another who would welcome a voice?

    avoiding the careless feet of the crowds the pigeon plucks swiftly at the scattered crusts. “I wish they’d improve their diet, this white bread is killing me…”

  • Oh Georgie, thank you, I forgot the winged ones, dodging, bobbing making do. I will add this with pleasure. :—))

    – Rhoufi

  • Hi Georgie, with just a slight addition I have incorporated your insight and regard for our overlooked rat with wings :—))

    – Rhoufi

  • patcheah
    patcheahover 2 years ago

    Great observation Rhoufi! Love the different interesting characters and activities and your stories.

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