*Disclaimer – Please read in the voice of Morgan Freeman*
In 2012, Chris Turner photographed a wedding. All they found of him was a muddy set of clothes, a bar of soap, and an Nikon D90, damn near worn down to the nub. I used to think it would take two hours to get his equipment back. Old Chris did it in less than twenty minutes. Oh, Chris loved photography. I guess it appealed to his artistic nature. An studio shot here, millions of polaroids there. Photography is the study of form and light. That’s all it takes really, form, and light. That, and a big god-damned lens.
It started off like any other wedding day…….he arrived early at the reception as he always does to check it out and earmark where to do portraits in the late afternoon sun and work out where the light would be later in the day. As he wandered inside the venue he ran into another couple having a look around for their wedding in the future. Everything was seemingly going to plan, even the weather was playing ball despite the deluge of rain the day before. With about 3 hours before the actual ceremony he decided to take a quick drive down to the church to scope out where to get the formal shots done. The church looked beautiful in the early afternoon light, and inside he started to get excited for the day ahead. He thought to himself whilst I’m here I’ll get a few shots of the grounds in this light in case the forecasted rain headed in later that day.
Heading back to the car he popped the boot open and started rummaging around in his bags to dig out his camera and attach his 35. Having got everything together he idly wandered off to the church basking in the mid afternoon sun. Glancing back he noticed he’d forgotten to shut the boot of the car. Not knowing the area too well he casually returned to the car and slammed it shut. Little did he know what chain of events he’d inadvertantly set in motion……
Chris stood for a while in the warm sun looking at the church admiring how quaint and pretty it looked. As he raised his camera to his eye to start documenting the day nothing seemed to happen. He glanced down at the display and noticed there was nothing there. A slight surge of panic streaked through his body as he started to contemplate using his backup camera for the wedding. He nervously flicked the on/off switch a few times (as you do when something doesn’t work) but still nothing. Upon turning the camera upside down he bashfully realised to his huge relief that there was no battery in the camera. Chuckling to himself, he headed back to the car not aware of the stark realisation that was about to hit him like a sledgehammer on a ripe melon.
Lazily wandering back to the car he patted his pockets for the car keys and that’s when it hit him smack between the eyes……his mind went on a quick rewind through the last 15 minutes back to the moment he put his keys down in the boot of the car……..and shut it.
The next half an hour or so was a bit of a blur, he frantically searched around, patting his pockets in furious rhythms. How could he possibly be that stupid? Having walked around a while and contemplated breaking the window Steve (the Father of the Bride and saviour of this little tale) drove up to hang some signs up around the church.
“I thought you’d be at our house by now?” he jokingly said.
“You’re not going to believe what I’ve just done.” Chris mumbled awkwardly. He frantically recounted the above tale apologising profusely. “You’ve got breakdown assistance right though? You can just call them out and they’ll come and sort it”
“Erm……well we’re kind of in the middle of swapping breakdown companies at the moment…so no.”
The realisation at that point was that they were going to have to break in to retrieve the lost keys. The last possible hope was that someone at Yarm Police Station would miraculously have a master key for a Fiat Punto. Chris crossed his fingers as he punched in the numbers and listened to the ringing. The receptionist on the other end of the line didn’t sound all that sympathetic. She briefly left Chris hanging as she went to discuss his predicament with some colleagues. Upon returning to the phone the best she could offer was to send someone out to smash the window…..”Well I can do that myself” Chris thought to himself before hanging up. Having resigned himself to the fact that this was the only way he was going to retrieve his equipment he started to scan the area for something to break in with.
Having searched the nearby area unfruitfully he accidentally stumbled upon a large round metal lid that used to rest on top of a nearby water pump. Whilst Steve was on the phone to his daughter to try and find something to use at his house Chris proceeded to bash the drivers side window with the metal lid as hard as possible. I never knew Chris that well but he never confessed to being the most criminally inclined person in the world. Towards the end he was standing back, hurling this lump of metal baseball style at the window where it mekely bounced off with barely a scratch.
Next up was the pub down the road to see if they had any bright ideas. Chris came trudging back to the car with a wooden mallet, a garden trowel, and a large bucket filled with cement that weighed a tonne. With the help of the two barmen they proceeded Crystal Maze style frantically trying to find the best way to smash open the window. At first Chris tried the old worn wooden mallet but it was no use, then he carefully positioned the trowel in the corner of the window and began slamming the mallet onto the end of it like hammering a nail into a wall. This merely frustrated Chris and the only evidence of his endeavour was the huge scratches down the drivers side window. Finally he began swinging the bucket full of concrete like a hammer athlete towards the window to which it merely bounced off like bullets off Superman. Personification had this window chuckling “Is that all you’ve got?” to him, but then it must have sensed somebody knew it’s weak point as the pub landlord came towards us with a simple table knife.
I wish I could tell you that Chris fought the good fight, and they managed to open the door and leave the car unharmed. I wish I could tell you that, but photography is no fairy-tale world. He never said who did it, but we all knew. And that’s how it went for Chris, that was his routine. I do believe those first 20 minutes were the worst for him, and I also believe that if things had gone on that way, this business would have got the best of him. With the window smashed he reached in pulled the back seat down and reached through to the boot to retrieve the keys. The only remaining evidence of the days ordeal was the following photograph :
Lesson Learnt? Well, now, let me see. You know, I don’t have any idea what that means. I know what you think it means, sonny. To me, thy’re just made up words. A politician’s words, sonny. Young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie and have a job. What do you really want to know? Am I sorry for what I did? There’s not a day goes by I don’t feel regret. Not because I smashed that window. Because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then. A young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try to talk some sense to him. Tell him the way things are. But I can’t. That kid’s long gone and this old man’s all that’s left. I got to live with that. Lesson Learnt? That’s just bullshit. So you go on and read this blog, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because, to tell you the truth, I don’t give a shit.