As weeks go this has been quite bizarre.
A wee while ago I was contacted by a BBC News online reporter interested in what I knew of this strange guy dressed as a Giraffe, walking around large Scottish cities performing ‘good deeds for the community’.
I met the Giraffe man at a charity run in Holyrood park where he had a small stall setup, away from the main runner area, handing out water, bananas and biscuits, without chocolate he would exclaim, and of course free banter.
I’d heard about this giraffe guy from Gareth Bragdon, a fellow Edinburgh street photographer enthusiast; he’d seen him in one of his Flickr contacts photostreams, Lesley Ann Ercolano, so when I got the chance to photograph him I went for it.
So at first I took a snap when he was chatting to a couple of runners, I was using a Zorki 4K and film so it was just ‘one picture’, then I went in for a quick chat.
He was a really cool guy chatting about being unemployed but wanting to do something positive for the community; busking to raise cash to buy food or flowers to hand out as gifts.
I then asked him to pose and I took a couple of snaps and uncharacteristic of me I even metered first just to make sure the exposure was OK.
The first one was a bad idea, I believe I was thinking of cropping the giraffe head off to get to just him but it was a shit idea at the range I was at and a 35mm lens then made the full length portrait below.
I was concerned the strong light would create harsh highlights and dark shadows but HP5Plus is forgiving.
All I knew about him was his name was Kenny, he was from Glasgow, unemployed but doing better things than I ever did when I was unemployed a few years ago so I really didn’t have much to tell the BBC reporter.
I put messages up on a couple of street photography message boards and onto Lesley’s photo but didn’t hear much back until someone from The Scotsman managed to get a hold of him which set the ball rolling.
Then the BBC article was released and although I didn’t manage to really help other than offer what I knew already and guess that Armstrong might be one of his other names she still offered to use my photo on the website; I said of course.
Integrity at a Price
Not too long after the attention from the BBC website I was approached by the Daily Mail to use my photo but in their printed newspaper and offering me £X money to use my photo.
I immediately said sure why not, I can get a photo printed in a newspaper for cash? Then, when it was too late, I actually thought about it.
The Daily Mail if no one knows has a terrible reputation with very right wing views which I don’t mind, I personally believe in a balanced diet.
A few years ago the Daily Mail behaved in a disgusting and irresponsible fashion to friends of my wife and I which bordered on a witch-hunt. It was absolutely disgusting and I vowed then to have nothing to do with them, but here I am, selling my integrity at a price.