Though a toll man can be separated from his booth, a tollbooth can never be separated from a toll… unless it is under construction.
Ever since hearing of the pending demolition of the Card Sound tollbooth, I thought hard about how to photograph its existence, with the goal of making an artful, yet historic shot. I envisioned a shot with Alabama Jacks in the frame, it would have bikers, perhaps rendered B&W and colorized to make it appear vintage.
So when I heard there would be a gathering of people and media on the last day, I headed out to get the final shot… in my mind bikers drinking beer with heavy machinery demolishing the structure. After all, what would the Card Sound Downtown look like without the blue tiled, matching awning, “don't forget your keys”, cars $1.00, Crocodile Crossing place in the middle of the Card Sound Road.
When I arrived, nothing appeared to be happening. Crocman Ken, the familiar face at the tollbooth was there, wearing as always a brightly colored dashiki, and trademark cowboy hat. As we spoke, through my peripheral vision I saw a truck approaching, that matched the bright key lime of his shirt. I raised my camera as the truck was just exiting the northbound lane, filling the left side of my frame. I snapped and that photo became the answer to my quest.
I had never photographed the human faces of the toll booth before. The Key lime painted truck, green dashiki, the signage, the blue structure composition proved artful, effortless and defined the moment. Proving all you have to do is show up, and be in the moment; the decisive moment will arrive and with practice, a sense of intuition and a little luck, you’ll get the shot.
This was a photo of Ken Murray at the tollbooth; and like any other photograph, capable of sparking memories of dog treats, quick hellos, peace signs and a true Key’s character. It just happened to have a good composition, making the photo pleasing to me, and perhaps presenting the subject in a way not seen before. Compounding this was my realization there was more than a structure disappearing after August 31, 2017. Like content and composition in a photograph, the toll man and the toll booth cannot be separate; together they link to make the whole.
Arrive with an open mind, be aware of the scene, use your peripheral vision to see the broader image, frame the shot to exclude any nonessential elements, be sure of your camera settings, breathe still and click away.
GEAR: SONY a6300 mirrorless / e mount 10-18/f4 lens / Godox v860 flash.
This photographic website provides me the opportunity for self-expression, for sharing