I met Juan Pablo this morning while on walkabout. I’ve been here in La Antigua, Guatemala, for about two weeks now, and is usually my custom I go walking in the mornings looking for photo opportunities. There he was, big as life itself, sitting in the doorway and soaking up the morning sun.
I am an introverted man by nature, and typically feel uncomfortable when approaching new people (especially if I’m asking permission to take their pictures), but my camera helps me to overcome this tendency by placing a physical barrier between me and my subject. So, in my best Spanish (which is terrible), I asked Juan Pablo if I could take his photo. He said yes if I would pay him some Quetzales, so I offered him 5Q. He gave me a big grin and asked for 10Q. I gladly paid him the 10Q (approximately $1 USD) for the chance to photograph this interesting man. Some of my photographer friends resent paying for a shot, but I figure they’re doing me the favor and not the other way around. I have no problem paying for a potentially good photo.
I snapped about a half dozen shots and came away with these two. The small color inset shows how I first saw Juan Pablo sitting in the doorway enjoying the morning sun, and the framed black & white portrait illustrates the character and life I see in his weathered and wrinkled face. He is a character, and still retains some vanity, wanting to see the photos I had taken. I was able to show him the in camera snaps, but not the final portrait as pictured here. We chatted a bit, I shook his hand, and we parted company. Another one of those brief moments in time that will stick with me for a long, long time.
La Antigua, Guatemala (Highlands)