Posted by Richard Amor Allan

A photograph captures all of the details of a moment, details that the eye of the photographer doesn’t always see…

resizedimage152229-DSC-0065edit4Back in August 2010, Yolanda and I were over in Maine in the United States for the wedding of a close friend, who was getting married back in the town where she grew up.  As it was quite a trip to get there, we’d decided to make a holiday of it, and that we’d spend our spare time travelling with a couple that we know – Sam and Jon.

During our week over there, we travelled to various places in New England, including two visits to Portland – the first was a photographic ’emergency’ (I’d dropped my camera which landed lens downwards and caused some damage, but that’s a story for another article!), and the second was to do some sightseeing.

When I go on holiday, I take a lot of photographs.  I’m snapping away like a sterotypical tourist, because that’s what I am!  So when we stopped off for lunch, naturally I took some photos of and from the venue.

We’d stopped off at the Dry Dock Restaurant Tavern, an eatery by the waterfront.  I was snapping away before we’d even walked in through the door!

The place was virtually empty, and so Jon, Sam, Yolanda and I didn’t have long to wait for our courses,  but in between courses I picked up my camera and went for a look around.  Upstairs there’s a seating area that opens out onto a deck that overlooks the docks, and so I took a shot from up there to document the view.  This is the shot that I took:


(A more detailed version of this photo can be seen here)

We finished up our meal, and carried on our tour of the town, taking in the sights and photographing them, as you do!

Much later, we returned to our rental car and started the drive back from Portland to where we were staying, in a small place called Center Lovell.  Whilst on the road, we had the local radio on, and when the news came on we heard a report about a body being discovered in the water at the docks in Portland, trapped under a jetty at the Three Sons Lobster & Fish company, behind the Dry Dock Restaurant and Tavern.

Needless to say, we were more than a little spooked by the news story, knowing that we’d been to that eatery during the day.  The following day was our journey home, and during the road trip back to Portland Jetport to catch our flight, we had the radio on again.  The story was updated with the details that the victim was a homeless man who had gone for a swim, presumably to cool off, and had gotten trapped under the jetty and drowned.

When we returned home to England, we looked online for any news, and all we could find was a report from the Bangor Daily News website which gave very sketchy details, less than we knew from the radio reports.   But I did know that I’d taken that photo during the day that the victim had gotten into difficulties and sadly passed away undetected under the jetty – I’d only seen it before on the back of the camera, a tiny image.  So I looked at it on my laptop, and it was then that I saw the detail that I’d missed when looking out on the scene at the time.  The homeless man had left his clothes and shoes piled on the dock wall, just behind the restaurant.   A sign that someone was missing, something wasn’t right.   I’d not seen it, not spotted it at all, but the camera saw it and captured it…