Tale of an adventure - meeting Everyday people wherever they are

100 Strangers, 100 Personalities, 100 Stories

welcome to yet another episode

Published May 3, 2022

It was yet another overcast day today (April 28, 2022) although there was a bit of sunshine earlier this morning. But that was like ten minutes or so – only a bit. It has been cloudy since. And later, it was rainy. As I stepped out, I could feel the drizzle on my skin. As the droplets touched the back of my palm, I could feel those tingly sensation over and over again, perhaps because winter is coming. During cold season in Australia rain and gusty wind becomes a regular phenomenon along with it very regular sensation – chilling.  Like yesterday, I didn’t take my umbrella though, but I think I should have.

By the time I reached the station, I could already see the train entering the platform. And settling onto the backseat at the lower deck all I could see was a murky sky, some forest with dark green vegetation, deserted platforms, and solitary passersby. Half-an hour has passed. As I got off at St James, today however – unlike yesterday – I went to Hyde Park for a while. I stood right at the entrance to the station next to Macquarie St intersection, the same place I met my previous stranger a day before. It was raining – lightly – and I stood under the trees. I spent there an hour, I guess.

Couldn’t really spot anyone that caught my eye.

Then I decided to come to townhalls. But this time I made an exception. Normally I walk for about fifteen minutes or so and my route usually includes sneaking into Westfield and sometimes I even spend the rest of the day there without making my way towards townhalls. But today I didn’t walk. I relapsed my usual route and went straight down to the St James station and caught the train – didn’t want to risk getting drenched. It started raining continuously – nonstop, everywhere.

Tapping off my opal card via the exit next to Woolworths, I took the stairs to come up to George St while standing next to the intersection. So now, you have townhall station down the stairs; light rail stops, bus stops, super shop (Woolworths) and ATMs next to, and all sorts of mini-shops, takeaways, and coffee shops right across where I was standing. In other words, it’s perhaps the busiest intersection in the whole CBD. And as such it brings the biggest opportunity for finding a perfect subject even on a rainy day. 

Some ten-fifteen minutes have gone by and now, it started raining rather badly. Furthermore, since people couldn’t move around, they took the shelter under the shed. There were lots of people and they were all standing next to each other – a huge crowd – unmoving and yet, restless. It reminded me of one of cities I used to live several years ago – Dhaka. Big city with millions of people and when you go to the street it’s always crazy. 

One thing that annoyed me though was smoking 🚬 I can’t understand why someone would smoke standing next to tens if not hundreds of other bystanders. Passive smoking does more harm to the people around, than to those doing it. It’s unhealthy for everyone and for me it’s rather suffocating.

So, I was trying hard to find a place where I would be able to do some shooting should someone come by, and I could manage to get them come along; where should I take them to, what would be background, what light I would use, in which direction etc. And while I was thinking all sorts of those thoughts there, I saw Pascal and her two other friends coming in my direction as I was walking around trying to spot something intriguing. 

So, here is Pascal Spencer, born here Sydney and now studying animation. It took me less than a second to make up my mind before I approached her while she was talking with her other friends and to my delight she agreed to join without any hesitation and with a lovely smile on her face.

It was her piercings that immediately caught my eyes. I love it on faces. It’s kinda edgy, kinda sparkly, kinda different. So, when I saw it, my mind went just blank – my thoughts are now gone and my eyes are now fixed onto something that is curvy, trident, shiny, sparkly and at the bottom of her nose and without taking my eyes off, I went ahead stopping her in the middle of her chat:

**Excuse me** waving my hand 


**hey, can I take a photo of yours? it’s for a project. **

**Sure. ** she replied.

After showing her my blog and the Flickr page, I took her right next to the entrance to Woolworths, where the underground stairs are (the one I just took few minutes back to came up). It was by the edge under the shed – less than a meter away from directly under the sky – where I made her stand and as such there was very little room for maneuver. In fact, she was standing so close as to feel the droplets of rain smashing onto her clothing with the gusty wind blowing every now and then.

I should point out that, I had a few recent episodes where I shot others with piercings too. And during those episodes I came across those who mentioned of a genre of music, or even a fantasy film was the reason for their body arts and hence I wanted to know her story for those piercings. “I used to work in a tattoo shop” – she replied. Although I didn’t ask if she also has tattoos but her fascination for anime as she pointed out could be the biggest reason – I thought.

There was this black partex board behind her with some white letters on it which was a sure distraction to her gorgeous face, so I was trying to obscure those letters by making her come a step forward towards the camera and away from that board. But then again there were other people standing right next to me so there was very little room where I could maintain my distance to take photos of her and still reasonably separate her from the distracting background. I had to keep a little distance from her because of the camera itself – subjects too close to the lens, cameras cannot focus. There must be a minimum distance between the two for the camera to “see” the subject properly.

To my advantage however, I got two “assistants” – her friends – and one of them (Atlas, the one with the glasses above) I borrowed for minutes to hold a photographic object to put some light onto her face. 

I tried to let them go as quickly as I could. The photoshoot took about ten (10) minutes or so. And after that with a big smile they all departed. A big thanks to Atlas for helping out. Interestingly, during this very short discourse, Atlas told me that she is into gaming. “The Last of Us” is the one she was playing, I believe, if I could trust my stale memory some three days later.

I kinda like the title of that game – “The last of Us”. It sounds like an adventure although I have no idea what’s it about. Furthermore, I don’t know why but that name strikes a chord. Surprisingly, I have been working on this project for a while now – some ten years – starting off long ago and putting it aside for a very long time and then staring it again several months back. And today, however, I came to hunt strangers particularly because rainy day can’t be an excuse to relapse when it comes to working on a **serious** project.

Despite my best efforts over the past few months, I still have a long way to go. Although I am totally enjoying the ride while I am working on it, someday it will be finished; one, two, three and now I am at thirty-eight – hundred is just around the corner; a couple of blocks perhaps. But I hope that it never finishes so I can keep going. While coming home after this encounter, as I sat next to the windows on the train, I could see the iconic Sydney Harbour bridge through those windows – not a clear vision though – the rains got on my way. And in that rain, I could still spot someone walking down the deserted street – the last ones, perhaps, I thought; being the last is not a choice as may be the case – rather a certainty, an inevitability.

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