Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Meet Ian

If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you how I read a piece on Friday evening by Philip Toledano entitled  Days with My Father  - which is a moving piece about his ageing father and is so beautifully written and photographed it really touched me a lot and made me think how everyone has a story, and everyone has lived a life.  It therefore would not come as a surprise when I would go onto say that I have not been able to get it out of my head since then!  As a result, on Saturday when Anders, Dexter and I went for brunch at a cafe we go to a lot and I saw Ian, a charming man I have noticed before and said hello to in the passing, I decided to say a bit more and actually chat to him. 

Ian is someone I have seen and thought of as charming and someone who I think must have been rather handsome when he was younger as he has such great bone structure.  Today as we were both sitting having coffee separately, him on his own (he always come in by himself) and me with my boys I decided to go over and say something more than just a hello in acknowledgement of each other.  As a result he told me how he had bought some tins of chocolates which were half their normal price and then winked and said he was 65!   I said I thought he had a lovely kind face to which he laughed and said "so did I" and then he allowed me to take his photo.   He went on to tell me that he had been handsome in his day and always dressed up wearing a smart collar and tie.  I laughed and replied "I can see that and you still are with your smart turtleneck worn under sweater with your smart cream trousers, very dapper indeed".  We chatted a little more and he was happy with me taking some photographs of him.    I then left him to chat to the other people who he had befriended with his charm who had shown interest in what I had been doing with him and resulted in them striking up conversation too.  As I then looked over from my table I just couldn't help but smile as I watched as he shook hands in introduction to their children who were aged about 3 or 4.  I could see how happy he was in the moment and with having the company and happiness is such a great thing.

I am going to leave him copies of these pictures behind the cafe for him to have (and told him to expect them this week), and looking at these pictures I am reminded of a man who appeared very charming, enjoying the company of people and living life in a positive way.  I don't know much more about him other than what he told me during our brief encounter.  I do know (because he told me) he was photographed by a photography student for their degree show the result of which gave the student top marks and Ian pride in having been exhibited, spoken of so highly and helping a student get top marks.  I don't know who the student was, or if indeed my photographs are a patch on the ones this student took, but that was not the point of this, the point was I was moved by Philip Toledano so much so that it resulted in me taking these photographs of the very lovely Ian and thinking how everyone has something to say that is interesting.   I really would urge you to go and read Philip's story, it will move you, and I would thank you for indulging me in telling you this story.  I hope it inspires you as much as it did me, and I am smiling as I write this (or if we were having coffee, as I would be telling you this in person) as Ian clearly goes to this cafe for company and I am so glad to have met him and hope I get to know him better in my visits there in the future.

I would then say to you  would you like to see some other photo's I took which I personally really and also made me really happy taking them and I think you would smile seeing them then click this

Pictures that I took because they reminded me of old fashioned paintings

If you had agreed, I think we would have spent a whole lot more time chatting over these too. 
Thanks for coffee and listening to me and have a great day/week.


join me for coffee!


  1. Such a charming story and a memory to treasure. I remember an old man I met in a breakfast joint in Beijing. If only I could speak better Mandarin...or really any at all.

  2. What a charming story - I can tell he was quite the ladies man at one point in his life. :)

  3. love that story and i love it that you took the time to talk to him and take his photograph. you are right, we do all have a story to tell. good for you!

  4. What a sweet story. I'll have to read the book you mentioned. And, you're right, he does seem charming and handsome.

    A great coffee with you.

  5. What an interesting encounter! It's amazing to think how much time we spend in our own bubble...at least I do. Looking at my phone or computer screen and never looking around for who or what may be sitting right there. Your story definitely opened my eyes to what could be :) Thanks for the inspiration today!

  6. Good story... Great photos too :)
    Happy Tuesday!

  7. Everyone has such an interesting tale to tell. It's so nice when we can connect with each other like this. The moment you two shared seems quite special. One of the reasons I like you Joanna is that you say what you mean and do things with such nice intentions...you seem honestly interested by things and seek out the answers. I think this friendliness (and ballsiness for a crude adj.) is one of your gifts... I would keep nurturing that and I bet you'll receive some of your greatest rewards. Very nice post.

  8. I love the photos, but even more I live that you took the time to make this man's day a little more enjoyable.

    Good job.


  9. Charming is the word I use too. Thanks for sharing.
    Cheers, jj

  10. This was such a lovely post. Thank you for sharing Ian and his story with us.


  11. I love this! He really does have very nice bone structure. I will definitely check out that book you mentioned. Thank you!