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Scooter man | by Ed Yourdon
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Scooter man

This guy was sitting all by himself, pretty much alone on the block, between 73rd and 74th Street, on the west side of Amsterdam Avenue. The enormous stone/bricks behind him are part of the massive wall of what used to be the Apple Bank (and before that, the Central Bank for Savings, constructed in 1928; click here for more details), but which has now been transformed into a luxury condo. (Rumor has it that Harry Belafonte lives in this building).

 

Anyway, this gentleman apparently navigates around the neighborhood on his battery-powered scooter-mobile, and decided that this was a perfectly good place to park for a little while, and read the paper. He paid no attention to me as I strolled by...

 

Note: this photo was published, in a mashup combination with the face of someone else, in a Jan 14, 2009 Polish blog titled "Zachęcam do korzystania ze zdobyczy najnowszych technologii i zaprenumerowania." It was also published, in a version that cropped off the man's head, in a Jan 12, 2010 blog titled "Klassische Medien, nicht-klassische Themen: Keine gute Kombination." And it was published in an Apr 25, 2010 blog titled "Practical and Unique Gift Ideas for Disabled Seniors." It was also published in a May 12, 2010 blog titled "Romantic/Unique Gift Ideas." And it was published in a Jul 19, 2010 blog titled "Deranged Old People Demand Right to Survive in NYC."

 

Moving into 2012, the photo was published in a Dec 14, 2012 Australian blog titled "Disability – an area where health professionals can help!!"

 

Moving into 2013, the photo was published in a Jan 10, 2013 blog titled "Success Story: Help Getting Around." And it was published in a Mar 12, 2013 blog titled "Police Pull Over 'Speeding' Man on Scooter."

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This is part of an evolving photo-project, which will probably continue throughout the summer of 2008, and perhaps beyond: a random collection of "interesting" people in a broad stretch of the Upper West Side of Manhattan -- between 72nd Street and 104th Street, especially along Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

 

I don't like to intrude on people's privacy, so I normally use a telephoto lens in order to photograph them while they're still 50-100 feet away from me; but that means I have to continue focusing my attention on the people and activities half a block away, rather than on what's right in front of me.

 

I've also learned that, in many cases, the opportunities for an interesting picture are very fleeting -- literally a matter of a couple of seconds, before the person(s) in question move on, turn away, or stop doing whatever was interesting. So I've learned to keep the camera switched on (which contradicts my traditional urge to conserve battery power), and not worry so much about zooming in for a perfectly-framed picture ... after all, once the digital image is uploaded to my computer, it's pretty trivial to crop out the parts unrelated to the main subject.

 

For the most part, I've deliberately avoided photographing bums, drunks, drunks, and crazy people. There are a few of them around, and they would certainly create some dramatic pictures; but they generally don't want to be photographed, and I don't want to feel like I'm taking advantage of them. I'm still looking for opportunities to take some "sympathetic" pictures of such people, which might inspire others to reach out and help them. We'll see how it goes ...

 

The only other thing I've noticed, thus far, is that while there are lots of interesting people to photograph, there are far, far, *far* more people who are *not* so interesting. They're probably fine people, and they might even be more interesting than the ones I've photographed ... but there was just nothing memorable about them.

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Taken on August 15, 2008