People watching

18th May 2016

Folkestone woes our tired limbs once again as we wave London adieu, tuck into some grub and catch up on life. Emily is a favourite of mine. Our moods are fortunately synced. We are up for a relaxed wander and as ever, a chance to escape the smoke.

After negotiating the main roads like feral kittens we arrive at the sea front; it’s brimming with sweaty pink backs and squealing children covered in ice cream. I am transformed. We both walk quietly, taking in the mosaic of interesting faces and activities. It’s beautifully refreshing. Lives seem more interesting and full of narrative and it’s incredibly relaxing to watch. My mind wanders onto imagined possibilities of why people are here, what drew them to cram the car full of spades and towels and hit Folkestone for the day.

As we stroll I spot a tableau of teens. I wait a while attempting to discreetly predict their reaction to being photographed. They are carefree and politely agree to my request. Occasions like these tempt me because I know that they are a rare chance to break down a moment. To really nose in on every action, gesture, expression and emotion within that 60th of a second. It’s an opportunity to stop time mindfully.

An instant that wont be remembered. It is insignificant and part of a larger memory. Yet it is also so interpretable. The mystery of the before and after is held by the strangers and how they instantly take on characters in a play. It’s a fun puzzle to take apart rather than construct. I also like how it is usually made on instinct. When observing these moments I am watching sections of the frame and how they dance together. How one subject is embracing someone, whilst another looks on. It’s impossible to see everything at once. It feels like pressing pause on a film.