Monday 1 August 2011: Hug
On our way back from Mayo, heading towards Mullingar, we found ourselves in the midst of a village fair, the street full of ambling people, parked vans, clothes, DIY tools, fairground attractions.
When we got out of the car the first thing that we noticed was a man showing off his pet pink owl. He was happy to talk and be photographed. It was a barn owl. He explained that the pinkness was due to certain vitamins that he put in its feed. As Slant said later, I don't like that he dyed his owl pink, but... And there was a but. He really did seem devoted to his bird, and it to him; he kept rubbing his face against its beak, something that seemed to give them mutual pleasure.
The village was Ballingar, and I had neither heard of it nor its fair, which has been an annual event since 1967 apparently. Neither Slant nor myself felt quite able to fully enter the spirit of either thing: photography or the event, the moment. We both agreed later that there was an abundance of photographic situations. But photography, especially street photography, is a dance. Ideally, you have to be able to flow; there has to be an easy confidence, an ability to mix and mingle, drift into bars and shops, work your way in close. That said, I did get a few shots I am happy with (and so did Slant). The one above is I think the strongest, a spontaneous display of mother-daughter affection, a good old hug. I couldn't have conducted it better.