I gave myself the personal challenge/goal to do a portrait in black & white. That’s a difficult one for me. Scouting out the mall for a possible black & white subject and background, I had lots of ideas. Then I saw her. You know that sound in a movie when the heavens open to the perfect opportunity? I swear I heard that when I saw Jessica. She’s perfect, but she was working, and I’ve never wanted to bother someone at work, but…… I did.
I waited until her customer left, and went in to ask Jessica if she’d be my stranger. She asked for a little explanation, and looked busy, but said o.k. I offered to come back in a half hour, if that would be better, and she said yes. When I came back later, she told me she had looked up 100 Strangers, so she was happy to be a part of it. Far out, daddy-o!
Jessica was really cool, man. She was in a groove as I asked her for a couple different poses. Jessica is 33 years old, and was born and raised in Tuscon, Arizona (U.S.). She ran a retail store for 10 years there named Kanella’s. She came out to San Diego "for a boy", but he wasn’t her dream boat, after all. But she flips when she tells me about her out-of-sight pooch: Mabel the most perfect pug on the planet.
Jessica told me she’s homesick, so in a month she’s splitting to Arizona to be with her mom and friends there, and back to Kanella’s! If you’re ever in the area, make sure you say howdy-doody to Jessica. She looked so blue when she said she’s homesick, I asked how long have you been in San Diego? About 8 months! We got a good laugh out of that, because I thought she’d say "years", not "months"! Here in San Diego, she works at Rockabilly Americana, a cool, vintage, retro store, filled with clothing and memorabilia. Being aware Jessica was at work, I thought I’d better skeedaddle to my pad.
Jessica’s love birds & heart tattoo is for her dad, Ronald. 7-24-45 ~ 1-31-02.
"Sailor Jerry" (t-shirt in background) is considered the foremost American tattoo artist of his time, and sometimes is even thought of as the father of the old school tattoo. (born 1911, died 1973) To this day, tattoo shops all over the world keep up the vintage traditions; images of Hawaiian Hula girls, large boats, roses, hearts, mom and dad, and overly endowed dancers are still going strong.
Jessica: your beautiful hair, lipstick, and tattoos, made it a real downer to stick to my goal of black & white. (I told you so!) I had a blast with you.
Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at www.flickr.com/groups/100strangers/pool/
Tagged: , 100 Strangers , San Diego , El Cajon , tattoos , 1950’s , black & white , retro , vintage