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."
Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Labour rallies behind Flint as deputy leader to offset a Corbyn win
- 2 Katie Hopkins reveals fear she will die during brain surgery to cure epilepsy
- 3 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 'Cool kids' can go on to become losers in later life, study finds
Top 20 films that make you feel good
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?
Cilla Black's 12 best songs, from 'Anyone Who Had a Heart' to 'You're My World'
Zoolander 2 trailer leaks online and it's really, really, ridiculously good looking
Game of Thrones season 6: Northern Ireland set photos leak online
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
Calais crisis: For desperate migrants it is 'England or death' as they brave dogs, riot police and speeding trains