Portfolio: Michael Whelan
Sunday 21 July 2013
Erb, says Michael Whelan, is quite the bocha player. The American invited the Scot to be his team-mate for a game – which is similar to lawn bowls – at his retirement village in Phoenix. "He's 90-something," reveals Whelan, "and he still had a killer arm on him."
The photographer came across Erb on his last day in Arizona, where he'd been working on a commercial. The retirement community lived next door to his hotel and, says Whelan, "was a goldmine".
A goldmine, that is, for his photo-blog, "The Other Day…". In January, the 36-year-old was shooting a series about chance meetings – capturing that split-second glance between two people who think they recognise each other – when a teenaged lad came up to him and told him he should really have a blog to show off the project. "It felt a bit whimsical, but now I upload photos every two to three weeks. They're either images I've edited out of projects, or I've taken them while I've been out and about on recces or in a new place."
Who else, then, do we have here? There's a cleaner in Crimea, who Whelan shot while on a job there in April. "I was getting up early in the mornings as it was so hot I couldn't sleep, and I started taking photographs of the hotel staff." Then there's two women staring out to sea in Brittany – "one of my favourites, just for the colours" – and a lady in Crimea: "I had a glass building behind me that gave her a bit of a glow."
Other than Erb, Whelan didn't speak to any of his subjects. But why photograph them from behind? "I think there's a peacefulness to them that you don't get when you see a face; we spend so much time reading facial expressions but these are quite calming. And there's also something about the mystery of it… if they weren't shot in such bright light, they might be quite sinister."
The best TV shows and films coming to the servicetv
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 2 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 3 Dakota Johnson's 'It's only Isis' Saturday Night Live sketch sparks controversy
- 4 Robert Mugabe eats a zoo for 'obscene' 91st birthday party
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Broadchurch series 3: David Tennant and Olivia Colman to return for third season, ITV confirms
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
EastEnders may bring transgender character to Albert Square to challenge 'traditional' viewers
Spectre: Director Sam Mendes teases clips from upcoming James Bond movie
Indian Summers recommissioned: Channel 4 confirm a second series of British Empire drama
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'