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The Story Behind That Picture: "An Afternoon in Saint Kitts"

By: Thorsten Overgaard

 

Yesterday afternoon I took a walk in Saint Kitts, a small island in the Caribbean.

I arrived to a cruise ship the day before from LA to do a couple of lectures onboard over "The Soul of Photography". We happened to be sailing in the evening, so I thought I'd better visit the island while the afternoon sun was low, before we sailed out to Antiquia.

 


School boy in Saint Kitts. I had to wait a few minutes by this wall before a desirable subject walked into the frame. Each school has their own school uniforms, so one can tell from the uniform which school the kids are from. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2014 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

I normally don't bring more than one camera, but today I decided to bring along the new chrome Leica M 240 to check the focus and all on it. It arrived just a few days ago, along with my black Leica M240 that had been fitted with a new shutter. My experience with having two of the same camera with me at the same time are not too good. Usually they get tangled up in each others straps or I drop one when occupied with using the other. But today it went without problems. 21mm and 90mm on one body and 50mm on the other.

 

 

When I had passed the usual diamond and watch stores in the tax-free area on the harbor I had come to the city. I crossed the local square and found a red telephone booth from British Telecom. The French and British occupied Saint Kitts together for a number of years, and the main contributions from Great Britain seem to be the left-side driving, the language and the red telephone booths.

 


A reminder about the superior technology of the British: A red telephone booth. Leica M 240 with Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/0.95.

 

The streets don't look much different from other streets in the Caribbean, so I decided to walk in through a small gate where I discovered a girl and her brother cleaning the street.

 


Sister and brother cleaning the street outside the family's house. Saint Lucia, May 2014. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

My presence was pretty obvious - white man with two cameras and purple shoes with metal spikes - so I asked if I could photograph them. I could. So I stayed for about 10 minutes and photographed the family.

 


The daughter sat down to eat, so I waited untill she couldn't ignore me anymore. She was shy of course. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2014 Thorsten Overgaard.

 


Pretty much the same where I come from: The son teaches his dad how to use the smartphone. Saint Kitts, May 2014. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.© Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The son was obviously interested in the whole thing, and I had been photogrpahing his sister. So I asked him if he would pose for a photo.

 


The son. Saint Kitts, May 2014. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2014 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

An older man had been standing by for the duration of the shoot, and now he asked if I could take his photo as well. So I did, and then my mission in the small alley was over. I thought I could walk through to the next street, but it was actually a dead-end alley, basically leading into a community behind the city.

 

Saint Kitts, May 2014. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 


A busy crossing in Saint Kitts, with some reggae music in the background. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.

 

I walked by a window and heard some yelling as if it was a religious meeting, but the building was closed. So I walked around and found the entrance. It turned out to be everything but a religious meeting. It was a billard club!

 


Eager activity by the three billard tables inside. Also a large stereo and a life saving raft on the wall for some reason. Leica M 240 with Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2014 Thorsten Overgaard.

 


Intense concentration, a rastafari waiting for his turn; and the always present Coca Cola advertisement. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2014 Thorsten Overgaard.

 


Billards in Saint Kitts.Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2014 Thorsten Overgaard.

 


Game on. Leica M 240 with Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2014 Thorsten Overgaard.

 


I was noticed, but nobody took care. Leica M 240 with Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2014 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

I said goodbye and exchanged contact information with one of the folks there who had been careful to stay out of the picture, but present enought to ask for pictures. He might have been the owner of the place.

On the way back to the harbor and the ship I came across the local park. I had seen it from the car when I arrived, and that was actually the main interest for the walk. Yesterday it had been full of people, and the low light looked really interesting. But today not much was happening. But it is a nice spot.


The local park in Saint Kitts. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95

 

It's interesting how much you can experience in 90 minutes. The walk reminded me of when I was a teenager and walked with my camera. The walking about without any prior idea or knowledge as to where to go or what you might photograph, and the feeling that you stick out because of the camera. But also a little fear that someone might tell you to stop photographing, or simply beat you up and take your camera. It all turned out to be for no reason. People were friendly and interested. But you never know untill you stick your head out and learn from first-hand experience.

With some luck a couple of them will e-mail and get their pictures. It is always surprising how few people e-mail you after they have asked for the pictures and you give them your card. It's as low as 5% who ever e-mail back. If you want to be really sure they get them, you have to take their e-mail down on your iPhone or a piece of paper and send it to them.

 


Thorsten Overgaard, May 2, 2014

   
   

 

 

   
   
   

Above: Eager activity by the three billard tables in St. Kitts. Leica M 240 with Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © Thorsten Overgaard.





 


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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

Feel free to e-mail to thorsten@overgaard.dk for
advice, ideas or improvements.

 

 
           
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