The day I did my first experimental American Apparel shoot with Emily ('together we have a voice') - of which you've only seen a few examples of the many gorgeous shots we got that day - I thanked her & the people @ the AA shop on Carnaby Street, then turned the corner and instantly saw this guy, leaning against the wall, with the name of a brand I really like (Massimo Dutti).
He seemed to not mind me shooting him, so I gave him my card, introduced myself, and took a shot or two. Meanwhile, can you make out some orange in the corner? There was this sudden burst of singing and the most incredible crowd appeared out of nowhere, filling the narrow road.
It was the hari krishnas!
In college, we called them the 'orange people' and they were kind of scary. There used to be tons of them on the streets of NY: I'm not talking about the actual monks, who Mr. Dot and I have the highest respect for, but the civilians who take this on. But that day.. it was different. The song they were singing was just SO JOYFUL.
It wasn't that usual 'hari krishna' one, but something quite indescribable. And their clothes.. well let's face it, it's not haute couture, but their colours are quite on trend, and the whole soft knotty draping thing isn't that far off from Burberry Prosrum, don't you think?
The streets weren't that crowded at that moment, but people on the streets were beaming. I swear it was the song: we were all just so indescribably happy. In fact, the image I didn't shoot was the best: a young girl, with her family, probably tourists, because at this point we had turned onto Regent's Street, ran up to them, and something was exchanged, a smile or a gift, and she went running back to her parents, levitating off the ground with happiness. Just dancing in the air.
A wonderful photographer friendnamed David Carol recently asked what three things people wished for. One answer that really touched me was a wish for 'instant karma'.
I don't know what we've collectively done recently to bring on Haiti, then the Ash Cloud, now the Oil Spill, but these three seemingly random events have each brought out something incredibly wonderful in people. So maybe it's not punishment for our sins, but perhaps, an opportunity to pool together and show what we - humanity - are capable of.
My heart goes out to everyone trying to get this oil spill under control, and fears for the wildlife, the birds already in peril, the fishermen.. and thank God that America has the President we do, now more than ever. My dad was in the field of science education, and I'm so proud that he's brought science teachers together to help find a solution. What an inspiring leader.
What inspired me to post this today was a post I randomly caught from a new blogger, Carrottline, about how she's suddenly embracing orange. Every once in a while I feel I need to embrace the colour I wear the least, just to round myself out as a human being. I'll do it in small doses: accent colours, like my nails.
Or the little bit of orange I saw reflected in this window, just at the moment that the Hari Krishnas disappeared from sight, their joyful music trailing behind, in my mind, for the rest of the day.