This area of Wilmington, Delaware used to be an eyesore of abandoned buildings serving as crack houses. A billion dollars later it's now a tourist attraction and a magnet for the lunchtime business crowd from the banking community.
I'm surprised how reticent people are when someone passes by with a camera. It's not vanity as much as a worry that their privacy is being invaded. However, I pose no threat since I appear to be someone's dusty-rose aging Aunt and certainly not a reporter or an artsy-fartsy student trying to capture the gritty or flagrant or "real" side of life.
In the late 70's when I first got a long telephoto lens, I found that you could capture people in their private moments of reverie without their knowledge. The power of it was intoxicating until I happened to focus the lens on a young Amish girl in Lancaster caught unaware and sweeping the concrete free of leaves that lead to the barn .
She paused for a moment to brush away a wisp of her auburn hair that had escaped from her bonnet and you could see her expression shift away from "idle hands are the devil's workshop" to some thought that made her cobalt blue eyes sparkle. The wind was swirling the leaves up around her and it would have been an award-winning shot.
But I did not click the shutter. It was a rude invasion of privacy and it would have been a "sin" to steal her private moment for my own.
After that I never took another shot without permission from the "model" or without sharing the photo for their approval.
I found this captivating young man in his stillness amid the adrenalin-charged business executives who hurried by and demanded "no mayonnaise" on their club sandwiches and "Evian water please, not Deer Park water."
After taking the photo of the young man, I walked up to him and showed him the view screen. "I took your portrait. Hope you don't mind. You are very handsome and I love the peaceful stillness you bring to the market." He nodded in quiet approval.
"Wow, get a load of that Tomato!"
After I had a conversation with the vegetables at the produce stand, I gathered my club sandwich to go ("EXTRA mayonnaise please") and headed to the door to leave but heard a voice behind me. It was the same young man now behind the counter of his small news stand unlocking the cash register to begin business again. "Miss," he said to me. "You are a lovely day."
Perhaps he really meant to say, "You have a lovely day." But something tells me he meant exactly what he said.