“It takes a long time to grow an old friend.” – John Leonard
It was the building that grabbed my attention, it’s irregular sized grey bricks and wavy surface modern, striking and out of place in their traditional Victorian neighbourhood. I stopped to take photos as I often do when objects or people or places spark in me some sort of inspiration – a memory to keep. I positioned myself on the footpath so as to abide by photography’s rule of thirds, the window off-centre to the left and the bike off-centre to the right, a staged but aesthetically pleasing composition. It was only at this point that I noticed the men in the window. And with that, a photo of something beautiful (the building), accidentally became a photo of something much more beautiful – a moment shared by friends.
I stayed in that position for just a little while – enough time to capture it but not enough time to distract the men from their game. To me, there’s something so lovely about everything about this; two elderly men playing chess in a public library, the childish bottles of soft-drink, their contrasting body language, their obliviousness to the world beyond that window. It is clearly the turn of the man in stripes, his body forward and thinking while his friend sits back, arms crossed in anticipation.
The building is lost entirely, outshone by its two enchanting occupants.
I have a million questions about these men, and how they came to be then and there, together. But for once – just once – I’ll let the photograph do the talking.