Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Boo and Samantha

One of the things I find most fascinating about my neighborhood Starbucks are the college students from the nearby universities that go there to study and socialize. I've always liked observing people and seeing how they interact with one another. At one point I was majoring in anthropology. When I look at the mix of nationalities, ethnic groups, and races represented by the young people smoking and drinking coffee around those tables I'm amazed at the fantastic progress we've made since I was that age. Boo (I don't know his name, but that's what he goes by) is "Anglo" in the local parlance and Samantha is Chinese. She usually goes by Sam, and often as not they have her younger brother Peter in tow. That's him in the middle.

I don't remember what it was that started our first conversation many months ago. It might have been something as simple as our just sharing a table on a night when seats were at a premium, or perhaps their mentioning that I'm never seen without a camera handy. On occasion I'll print up a bunch of small prints of the "self-portraits" I shoot over there and give them out to the people in the photos. One time Belle printed up a bunch of them as refridgerator magnets and my face is now on refridgerators all over town. Some photographers think I'm nuts for giving out free pictures but it pays off. I've picked up some photo assignments from some of those people, or from their friends who've seen the photos. I've sold a few large prints of the same pictures. It seems a bit strange that people will actually pay good money to purchase a photograph that has them in it but is really a photograph featuring me in the forground, but that's part of what makes people so darned interesting.

Sam reminds me of another college girl, Patty Ho-Chan, that I met over thirty years ago at Barry College when I was their photographer. I'd stopped by the photo lab in the art department to say hi to my friend Andy Anderson, the teacher. Their was this cute Chinese girl there with waist length black hair and we got to talking. She was born in Guyana but had lived in Freeport in the Bahamas, then got a Rotary Club scholarship to attend Barry. Her mom was widowed and she had a brother still in the Bahamas. I helped her with one of her photo projects, working in my darkroom. She became good friends with myself and my then wife Stephanie.

The following year, to conserve funds, she moved out of the dorm and into our spare room, helping with our new born daughter Elena. Eventually she fell in love with an Israeli guy, Avi, got married, and they have two lovely daughters. When she met him he was in the air conditioner repair business, and he's still willing to come over and get a balky window unit running again, but Patty had a brilliant idea a few years ago. Now every year they take a booth at the Ft. Laudedale boat show. He specializes in custom air conditioner installations for multi-million dollar yachts.


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