Hour Fifteen: The 24 Hour Photo Project

2:00AM, Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

It is 2:00AM on South Street. The J.Cole concert has let out, spilling people onto the street, trash and conversation and the smell of liquor in their wake. Cops stand at the intersection of blocked off streets as people walk by.

It is late enough that we are all a little drunk, which is not to say that we have been drinking, just that the lateness of the hour imposes a sense of surreality over everything.

I am walking down the street with my camera around my neck, the body resting in my hand. I am not often out this late. I am nervous, not for me, but for my camera. It’s my living that I carry around, the equipment that helps me to pay my bills.

I pass a group of Gentlemen and hear them talk about me as I go “I bet she’s a pornographer,” one says. “Yeah,” says another, “She’s out to shoot some porn.”

I dismiss this as drunken rambling. At least, till a group of young men stop me and ask me if they want to take their picture. The answer to this is always: Yes. I do. And I will.

I take their picture, and then they ask me what I’m going to do with the photos.

“I’m a journalist” I say, “I’m out shooting for the paper.”

“Oh,”says one, with a sigh of relief, “I thought you were shooting porn.”

The third time this happens – a man stops me and asks me to take his photo, and then asks me if his picture is going to end up on “some porn site” I ask him, with genuine curiousity

“Why do you think someone would want to see a fully-clothed, candid photo of you on a porn site?”

He frowns, and I can tell he’s hurt his feelings. “It’s cool man,” says his friend, “You look good!”

“Oh, I didn’t mean that!” I try to reassure him, “You have a very nice face, it’s just. . .why would I be out shooting porn of fully clothed guys on south street?”

Is there a market for fully-clothed candids  of gentlemen out for a stroll that I don’t know about? Could I be making ton of money off this? I would assume that you can see as many photos of fully-clothed people walking around without paying a dime if that’s your thing.

He shrugs. He doesn’t know. Either do I.

Then I see the fire.

Tomorrow: City On Fire

Yesterday: The Clubs Let Out

Just got here? Start at Hour One.