The other day on the subway, I saw a man dash down a set of stairs and squeeze – just barely! – through the closing subway doors. He was alone, and there was no one to congratulate him on making it, so he was left to do the job himself, which he did with a quick but very satisfied little smile. I see this sort of thing every day, but for some reason the way he was just so very pleased with himself amused me.
It would have been nearly impossible to capture the moment with a camera. I would have needed the camera with me, out and pointed already in his direction, and even then I wouldn’t have taken the shot for fear of rudeness; because I wouldn’t have seen that great little grin coming; and because I would surely have botched the shot anyway. Still, I wish I had been able to take that shot because I wish you could see it too.
My all time favourite picture not taken was also not taken on the subway. It was an A train, I believe, on its way to Jamaica, Queens. I sat across from two 45 or 50 year old women, probably Russian, one of whom was showing quite a bit of cleavage. They were together, talking intermittently, but talking in a way that suggested they were perhaps colleagues rather than friends. At a certain point the busty woman looked down the subway car away from her companion, and her companion’s eyes traveled quickly down to the busty woman’s cleavage. I have a generally lousy visual memory, but I still have a reasonably clear mental image of the flicker of barely suppressed disgust and disapproval on the companion’s face.
I would have treasured a picture of that moment my whole life, but all I have from it is a fading mental image and now this little scrap of a blog post.
So, what are your favourite pictures not taken?
Howls of outrage (3)