I’m unexpectedly, i.e. have no choice, told to get on the back of a motorcycle on a windswept island off the coast of Haiti. We’re in the countryside, three of us on three motos. Mine is the last, all heading west into the setting sun on a dirt path. There are 25 pounds of camera equipment in a backpack, on my back, hanging off the back of the moto. My guy is getting the dirt cloud from the other two and keeps wiping his eyes with his left hand. The sun is low and that’s in his eyes too. So it’s part time one handed motorcycle driver, on a dirt path, with Adam on the back and a heavy pack on Adam’s back. I’m paying very careful attention to everything.
Next thing I know the driver’s left hand goes in one smooth motion from wiping dirt from his eyes to pushing into his left jeans pocket, which is pressed tightly to his body from sitting on a moving motorcycle. Three fingers dig into the pocket making the hand totally unavailable for unexpected anything. After a long 10-15 seconds, it felt like 5 minutes, his fingers come out with a dinky little cell phone.
Reminder: we’re on a dirt path going 20, or maybe 60, the air filled with dirt and bright sun light. I would rather have been on the moon in a space suit waiting for a distant shuttle.
Now he’s looking at the phone, either trying to see who’s calling or which button to push to answer. It doesn’t change my situation much. He answers the phone. In order to hear he needs to press the phone so tightly to his ear his hand might as well have been glued there. All I can think of is a situation seven years prior, the night before a different momentous photography event, and a friend saying to me “You’re gonna shit your pants Adam. You’re gonna shit your pants.”
In the end I live. It’s raining at the beach and he sun is setting over the ocean. One eye closed and the other fixed to a camera, I suddenly see sheep where second before there was only sand and water. They pause for one, maybe two seconds, wondering what the fuck I’m doing on their beach and is that shit they smell coming from my pants. But it’s only dirt. The kind of dirt that sticks to your pants from being the third moto on a dirt path at sunset in the countryside of Haiti
Copyright 2014 Adam Bacher. All rights Reserved – Absolutely NO usage without prior authorization.
Portland Oregon editorial photographer, Adam Bacher.