The Story behind an Image, Part Two

For the past 13 years, I have had a love affair with photography. I love great images that comes with a story. Over the years, I have shot a few images that has a story. Here is part two of a series I call “The story behind an Image”.

Part 2: The Bus Stop

Summer of 2008, I was working for a major automotive company in southeast Michigan and the 2008 Economic crisis was well under way. The crisis had slowed sell and it was time to saving money to get through the rough times ahead and that meant layoffs. The weeks working up to the layoff was some of the worst times I had ever worked anywhere. The level of worry and anxiety seem to be unbearable at times. How many would be let go? Who is safe? Where would go to find work? How long would my money last? All questions that always on my mind and was very hard to escape from.

On July 31, 2008, my boss told me to come with him. We went into a conference room off the studio floor, sat down and was told I was to be laid off indefinitely. We had worked together for years and it was a sad moment for both of us. We weep over the fucked-up nature of this situation. I took some comfort in the fact that the worry and anxiety of it all was over and now it was a matter of figuring out what my next step was going to be.

As an out of work automotive clay sculptor, I knew it was going to be difficult to find new work during the crisis. If cars were not selling, there is no reason to develop new products. And when you’re not developing new product, there is no reason to have a large design staff sitting around. During my separation meeting, my boss did tell me that the layoffs were a cost saving measure and that I had not did anything wrong. It effects every pay grade in every part of the company. The company was just adjusting its size due to the failing market. At the time, I did not have a car and relied on public transportation to get back and forth to work, amazingly it worked out well given I lived in Detroit. Which my manager knew and after saying an emotional goodbye to many coworkers, I packed up my tools and he had a taxi waiting for me to take me home.

The following days after being let go, I had told family and friend about my situation and plans. The weeks leading up to the layoffs, I did manage to save up enough money to last a few months before I would have to apply for unemployment. I had applied to all the available positions I could find but was starting to lose hope when one day as I was waiting at the bus stop that use to carry me to work. I received a call from what was to become my new job. That bus stop is in the image below. On the right side of the image, there is thin sliver of light running down the building. Where that sliver of light hits the ground, there is a light pole which marks the location of the bus stop.

The amazing part of the image is that I shot it on April 16, 2006, over two years before I got the phone call which lead to my next job and adventure in Life. I remember the day I shot it, was out reshooting locations that I knew had better light on it in the morning than in the evening when I first shot it. On my way back to my loft, I was walking east on West Lafayette Blvd and as I crossed Shelby street I looked to my left and that is what I saw. I shot it in color but I knew it was going to make a great black & white. Funny, I knew it was going to be a great image but had no idea of the personal importance it was going have and to my future at the time.

the bus stop

EXIF data

Date: 4/16/2006 9:36am
Model: Canon 20D
Len attached: 17-85mm
Focal length: 44mm
Exposure program: Aperture priority
ISO speed: 100
Exposure time: 1/500th second
F stop: F/5.0


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