Mentally exhausted after a two hour dress shopping trip with my thirteen year old daughter, I took a wrong turn on the way home. Thank goodness. My wrong turn led me to a small street behind the mall, taking me past an open lot where eight lovely dumpsters were waiting for me to take their photographs. Unfortunately my passengers were not in a particularly good mood after our recent shopping excursion, so I made a mental note and continued onward.
The next morning, I returned to the lot. I enjoy shooting early on Sunday mornings when the city is quiet, worksites are empty, and I can really take my time. I parked my car facing out ready for a quick get-away. The down-side of Sunday morning photo shoots is you don’t always know who or what you might encounter. I felt pretty confident that I wouldn’t run into any dogs, but the possibility of someone sleeping behind one of these dumpsters was high.
I armed myself with my camera and my squirt bottle ready to get to work. It really was like I had won the lottery, silver, yellow, peach, blue, and green dumpsters were waiting for me. The icing on the cake was a beautiful pink and purple container attached to a construction vehicle. I was hoping the silver dumpster would provide me with some good material for my City Jewels collection launching this month. Silver dumpsters are a rare find, finding one is like finding the golden egg during an Easter egg hunt. At first I treadded carefully and cautiously along the sides of the dumpsters, never going behind them for fear of what I might find or who I might wake-up. I would stop every few shots to look up, listening for any clues that someone or something might be nearby.
Eventually, I became engrossed in my work, the yellow dumpster reflecting on the adjacent silver dumpster was pure gold. I was no longer seeing a silver dumpster, instead, a regal necklace made of individual gold rectangles glittering in the...BBBAAAAAMMMMM! I do not have a strong vertical leap, but I may have jumped five feet. Quickly I emerged from between the two dumpsters making a bee-line for my getaway van running right into a security guard. Before he could even ask me what I was doing I experienced word vomit and rattled on about the fact that I’m a photographer/artist taking up-close pictures of dumpsters so that you can’t even tell they are dumpsters, and on and on. He calmly replied, “This here is private property, you have to ask the mall’s permission to be here.” I may talk the big talk (or world vomit), but the truth is I have absolutely no interest in getting arrested or in trouble, so I quickly apologized, hopped into my trusty getaway vehicle and drove off.
After a few blocks, I pulled over to let my heart-rate settle down a bit. As I looked through the photos on my camera and I knew I had to go back. It was in this moment that I realized just how similar my nine year old and I are - once we have our mind-set on something, good luck stopping us. I found another dumpster to photograph/kill time, and then I went back. This time I parked in the parking lot, and walked over to the open lot. I really did not want to get caught again. For one thing, my get-away vehicle was now a few blocks away. I also didn’t think the security guard would be too happy to see me again.
The pink-purple container photos were totally worth going back for, unfortunately most of my photos from the second round of shooting were blurry, probably because I was so nervous about getting caught. All in all it was a great shoot - I didn’t get attacked by any animals, I didn’t find anyone or anything hiding behind a dumpster, and I didn’t get arrested. But at the end of the day, my biggest accomplishment was surviving dress shopping with my thirteen year old daughter.
Until my next adventure,