Just a Passing Observation

John Street Time Traveler

John Street Time Traveler

I shot this back in 2009. As much as street photography mainly involves looking out for the mundane person, place, circumstance or thing that somehow becomes suddenly intriguing, sometimes it’s about keeping your eyes open for the peculiar. Capturing this moment was such an unusual occasion.

My wife and I stopped at a red light on Wilson Street while passing through Beasley. As if materializing out of thin air, this man, dressed head-to-toe like he was coming straight out of the 1920′s, peddled into the intersection amidst the modern motor vehicles and surroundings. Even his bicycle had that early twentieth century look with the front wire basket, narrow rear-pointed handlebars, long fenders and large springs under the seat. This is not something you see everyday in Hamilton, and it made me feel like I was witnessing some kind of a time warp.

Making the experience even more exciting was the way that old-style bike seemed to be the man’s personal time machine, because cycling has always been an important form of escape for me ever since I was really young. Making the occurrence seem a little ominous, was that while this man looked like he was only a few years or mere days away from the Great Depression, the world was actually just starting to pull through the worst global recession since the Great Depression. The cyclist appeared like a silent yet loudly heralding horseman of the Apocalypse, perhaps famine. I had to capture this fleeting moment. I hastily raised my camera and started shooting.

It only took a couple seconds for the stranger to pass through the intersection, and continue his northbound John Street jaunt, seemingly vanishing as mysteriously as he had appeared.

Did I just see a ghost? I think some will suspect that this shot was either digitally created or that I had a model/actor ride on through. Neither is the case, however. This was an intriguing experience that caught me and my wife completely by surprise, and we were lucky to have been at that intersection when it happened.


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