I love taking pictures of people, especially interesting people. And there is no better place to find interesting people than at the long-running Mary’s Swap Meet in Midwest City, Oklahoma. This event has been going on every Saturday morning since the early 1970s and brings people from all across Oklahoma who are intent on buying, selling, or just looking at – stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. Dishwashers. Used jeans. Old books. Rebuild lawn mowers. Chains. Furniture. Livestock. You name it, you can usually find it at Mary’s Swap Meet.
I find it challenging to walk up to complete strangers and ask them if I can take their picture. I have found carrying a big 4×5 view camera around on a tripod acts as an icebreaker. I will let them look through the ground glass – people always comment about the image being upside down. And, I remind them, backward – or reversed in technical terms.
This is one of my favorite images from the morning of shooting with the exception that I mishandled the negative and accidentally exposed the top of the image when the dark slide opened slightly while handling. I was able to recover most of the details at the top with a bit of Adobe Lightroom magic, but it would have been much better if I had not screwed up the handling. Oh well, I don’t worry about it too much anymore. That is just part and parcel of shooting large format.