The runner with the dragon tattoo

Looking through the viewfinder you constantly edit and revise, make decisions on the composition, select the components you wish to include. Your field of view is obscured by the body of the camera and your eye is fixated on the image you wish to catch. As such you isolate individuals. Fix them in your gaze, and then press the button. Usually this is a one way process. The subject is unaware their image has been captured and of your presence.  But every now and again you get someone who’ll clock the camera and partake in the process.

One acknowledges it at the time. The fleeting seconds the individual fills the view finder and then disappears. A few seconds of intimacy with a complete stranger.

On reviewing the images you start to question. Who were they? Why did they look in to the camera? Why did they give a little wave? Do they always do it?

Sometimes I’ve been so fixated on capturing the subject that when looking back at the images I’ve noticed friends and acquaintances in the back ground. I’d not noticed them at the time, or they me. But a complete stranger has caught my eye.

Of the thousands of people that passed me during the Sheffield half marathon only a handful reacted to the camera. A guy from possibly Maori descent. I say Maori as he had dark skin, the build of a fly-half and pulled a face similar to those produced by individuals performing the Hakka. This was more of a Hakka on the jog. He was grasping, what looked like a yellow test tube, so I reckoned he was a chemist.

A guy dressed as a dinosaur. Who, whilst clearly having fun and enjoying the day out was slightly out of place. Not that I have any problems of dressing up to run, but as he was probably in first fifty runners at the nine mile mark he was clearly causing some consternation amongst the more serious competitors he was passing. 

Finally, the girl with the dragon tattoo.  Not a full back, as imagined on the covers of Steig Larsson novels, but a monochromatic dragon on the ankle. She gave a smile and two thumbs up as she passed and then disappeared from view.

Of all the runners, I remember these three. My eye was fixed to the viewfinder and as they turned to the camera and made eye contact, their image was seared in to my memory. 

I have their image but know nothing more about them. 7258, 4836 and 1674. I suppose I could contact the organisers and track them through their numbers. Start to flesh out a story. But do I want to? Am I happier to remember those few brief seconds? Those few brief seconds when they appeared in my life then as quickly, disappeared.


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