Airports are quite strange places. They lack spirit and feel a little soulless. I usually break this by having a friendly chat with whoever is in the queue next to me. On this particular occasion it happened to be Emma Jeng. As we trundled through security and all the ceremony attached, we heard each other’s back stories. Emma, originally from Bradford, moved to London 14yrs ago to pursue a career in acting. I was interested to hear about her current projects and interest in crystals and their healing powers. Emma was heading out to Australia. Our paths may or may not cross again, but it was nice to have some spiritual warmth in “soulless” Heathrow.
As I approached the check in desk at London Heathrow, I noticed four pilots and of course had to ask them the above…”Take it you’re heading to Bangkok?” They answered me in a typically chilled out Aussie way…”yeah”. I told them about my portrait project and they were happy to have a quick snap. No matter where I go, I like to make a personal connection with whoever I’m dealing with…from restaurant owners to bus drivers. I suppose the friendly country lad is still very strong within me. Where I grew up in rural Donegal, Ireland, we spoke to everyone we met during the day…which often meant finishing our work on the farm in the moonlight! Bangkok is far from the farm however Thailand is well known for it’s celebrations of the half and full moon!
I met Shamillah on the London Tube as she headed towards and evening of babysitting and I headed to my Bangkok flight. Our conversation started when she looked at my travel guide book inquisitively. I explained my 7 month journey and my portrait project.”Most” people don’t communicate on the tube but I’m not “most” people. I will happily chat to anyone, anywhere. I told Shamillah about my project and then asked her about her life and heritage. Her mother is from Rwanda and her father from Uganda and Tanzania. She is currently studying Health Care. I asked if I could take her portrait. When I showed her the image she made the comment above..it seemed the perfect introduction to my travels.