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bob knows | by scottelbot
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bob knows

another breakfast, another bright morning.


while the kids huddled inside gravy trying to stay warm whilst waiting for a table, i paced the sidewalk outside absolutely enamoured with the cold winter light. gorgeous to look at, but i just couldn't find anything to take a picture of: the alignment of the street cast shadows so that every car, every bike, every store window.


sad metaphor, i thought; anything i found interesting was just outside the light, just out of range.


then, on the far side of the street, bob stepped out.


"' 'lo bob," i said.

"happy new year," bob responds.


it had been months since we'd seen each other. he began to roll a cigarette; i asked how he was, slowly unpacking my camera. "haven't seen one of those in awhile," he says, as i pull out a meter, and start exploring the shadows.


i explain that i have been carrying the hasselblad around for a little while, trying to find my voice again—that i hadn't invested myself in photos for far too long, and really thought it was showing. bob suggested that he too had been carrying his own sketchbooks around again, and was enjoying how stepping away from the machine was allowing him a more organic process. i nod silently in agreement.


in the silence, we stare in opposite directions down the sleepy holiday street. i move to begin carefully packing up the luna pro, "this light sure is great right now."


"yes, it's fucking awesome."

(bob is not one to mince words)


i gesture towards him with the camera, shoulders raised.


without another word: bob lights his cigarette, scans his surroundings, stoops to grab the two random bags of phonebooks sitting in the doorway—then stands, looking purposefully down the street. i am so shocked at this sudden and unscripted response that i am almost not sure how to respond.




as i slowly wind the camera, he lifts the left bag closer for inspection, just inches away from the glowing end of his cigarette. "who even uses these any more?"


well bob, we just did.





notebook: roll 120-8, image 9

hasselblad 500c/m, 80mm C/T*, kodak portra 400nc, 1/500th, ⨏8


(much more stopped down than i would like, but it was super bright, and i only had 400 speed...)

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Taken on January 1, 2011