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People in Places: Man In the Square

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

The story behind the photos.


I've been thinking about how to do this and why. If a photo is worth a 1000 words as the saying goes, why should I have to write a post about "The Story Behind the Photo"?


I don't know what 1000 words this photo tells you, bit at the encouraging of Lynnie, a new Aussie friend that I met in the hot tub this morning, she encouraged me to do this. So I picked up a draft post that I started back in January from when I first had the idea, and now I'll share more...


The photos (and my trek around the world itself) is not about composition, lighting, or perfection. It's about doing the best I can, with what I have and in the moment.


So let me introduce:

"Man in the Square"


Regrettably, I don't know his name, but when I saw him I knew I had to ask to take his photo. He was my first "people in places" subject.


After feeling all confident after capturing some sites around San Juan, on the first day out with my new camera, a Sony Alpha 7aiii, I spotted him in the public square. I immediately knew I wanted to take his photo, just unsure about how to do it. I approached, and all I asked is was if I could take his photo. He paused for a moment, I paused, nervous as heck for asking a random stranger to take there photo, but after a brief pause, simply gave me a thumbs up. He never spoke a word. I took just one shot and moved on.


A very (VERY) special photo in the trek around the world. An inspiration just sitting there in a public square in San Juan Puerto Rico. The impact and trajectory that he has had on my year of travel has been life changing. I don't know his story, but his face told me everything I needed to know. Both of us out of our comfort zone and I can see that in his face. Like what is this guy doing taking my photo...you can almost taste the unease. It's not unfriendly, just unsureness.


The fun part of this story is that when back in San Juan the following week, on week 2 of my back-to-back Carnival Celebration cruise, I was walking thru the same square and I spotted him again. I already "knew him" or at least the story I told myself about him thru his photo, and also knew the impact he had already had on me. I approached, and said "hey, I took your photo last week." He looked confused so I grabbed my phone and showed him the photo and he just smiled and said "I like it."


No other exchange, and none needed.


So, "Man in the Square". Thank you. You have given this entire year purpose and launched the People in Places collection


And there you have it.


-Cole, amateur photographer


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about me:

Hey!  I am Cole from Grand Junction, Colorado. In 2023 I stepped on all seven continents, in a single calendar year, solo!

The year continues to shape my life and my lust for travel.

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