Triptychs of Strangers #18, The Revolutionary Security Guard - London

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About this shot

Best thing about this project is to have a great reason to talk to people wherever you are. Most of open up, others don't. I don't care too much about it.

 

In this case I am really happy we talked, for about two hours. I actually wanted to visit grungy south of London for the first time, but things went different: A few lines of the London Underground were completely shut down for the day due repairs. So I found myself at the Sunday Up Market and Spitalfields Market in Shoreditch. If you have been there before, you might know this place can be a great freak show of different fashion styles and characters.

 

About this stranger

I was walking around for two hours and finished four strangers before I met Arrola, 31. He is the son of a Zimbabweans and Nigerian, born in London and raised in his mother's country Zimbabwe. He lives in a suburb called Thornton Heath, situated 12km southeast of London Central. And is now working as a freelance security guard for an agency for a few months.

 

Relationship-status is traditional african. I leave the interpretations to you. :-)

 

Arrola has strong opinions about certain aspects in life and claims to have a revolutionary mind. In his leisure time he loves to read philosophy (favorite author is Paulo Freire).

 

His favorite quote: None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

 

A friendly, calm and interesting character I met there. But I must admit I managed to overlook him with a height of approximately 2,10m. I was way too glued on the typical extrovert flashy (no offense) Brick Lane folks. So I passed him a couple of times while circling the area, but among all these crazy folks ... Therefore I am glad he was showing interested - he asked me: Hey man, what are you doing? … After an hour of talk: the project and yada yada.

 

You might have asked yourself, what does a security guard do at a sunday market? He came up with the answer: "Nothing. I am not sure what i am doing around here - I mean it's sunday market. What could possibly happen. But at least I get paid."

 

His opinion fashion in aspect of self-expression: Concerning fashion I am dressing smart, everything else feels exhausting. "The life of an extrovert is to please others, an introvert only pleases himself. I know what I am talking about, luckily things changed …"

 

An there is this interesting thing about this job he took. Since Thornton Heath has nothing else to offer than suburban life, the security job was a nice opportunity. He never guards the same place, the locations are changing with every job. "This is just a small part of my larger concept in life: Getting to know the unknown … I felt stuck in suburban life and I haven't seen much of London during the last 9 years."

 

You might not meet Arrola in Brick Lane again, but possibly any fancy swimming-pool party in London - watch out for a friendly big guy.

 

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Taken on August 28, 2011
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