The Man in the Hat

You know the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words?” To me, this picture is worth much more than a thousand words. It’s a travel memory and a reminder of the many reasons I love to travel: inspiration, a change of scenery, local color and culture, sharing ideas and meeting new people. Sometimes just a smile and a friendly face can make your whole day when you are traveling.

I took this photograph at the Mercado of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The mercado was part of the Old Spanish Days Fiesta Santa Barbara activities, and had a more local vibe. There were lots of food booths and games for the kids, Loteria and coin tossing and music.

I saw this man sitting with a large group of his friends and family . Honestly, I didn’t really see the people around him, he had such a strong look and spirit my eyes focused only on him.  I am a professional makeup artist and hairstylist, I notice details: colors, bone structure, hair, wardrobe; anything unique or exotic. It’s just what I do.  I wanted to take his photograph but I was a little shy to approach him as he was surrounded by so many people.

I complimented him on his hat, which I loved – not a typical sombrero, it was smaller, made of a whiter straw and had a simple but nice contrasting trim. What I really liked about him, he had  a definite ethnic look and it was genuine.  I didn’t know what else to say, so I moved on and joined my friends in sampling some traditional Mexican food.

He was sitting not far away, and I every now and again I’d look over my shoulder just to make sure he was still there. I was afraid he’d leave before I got up the courage to ask him if I could photograph him. I guess I was looking over my shoulder a lot, because it wasn’t long before one of his friends pointed at me and smiled, and the next thing I knew, he was making his way through the closely packed tables and chairs towards me.

What a relief! Even though he’s obviously a friendly guy I was glad I did not have to approach him in front of all of those other people.

He told me he’s a descendant of Emiliano Zapata, and that was the reason behind the style of his beard. I said I thought his beard was great – really an essential part of his look – and explained that I’m a professional makeup artist. I loved the contrast it created with his skin, and he said he liked that too, but his wife wasn’t fond of it. Beard or no, his personality is written all over his face and shines through his eyes.

He is a great subject for this weeks photo challenge, Free Spirit.
I hope you enjoy this portrait from my Santa Barbara vacation. Love to hear from you. Do you like to take photographs of people? How do you approach them?

All materials ©Penny Sadler 2012 please be respectful.


7 thoughts on “The Man in the Hat

  1. Yes, I love taking photographs of people, and the way you approached him with a compliment is a perfect way to introduce yourself. You would probably love Turkey, where beautiful school children (there are always groups of them visiting important sites with their teachers) actually throw themselves in front of your camera so you can take their photo. No request needed 🙂

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