Pumping diesel for heavy machinery, sporting a hardhat and safety goggles, using a unique but most likely purposeful grip, and even providing shipping containers for a background: this is the kind of photo I throroughly enjoy finding. I see them a lot more than I have a chance to capture them.
Sure, I had to turn around, stop the car, and walk awkwardly up this guy, but that was the hardest part of it. Truth be told, he was the least inviting of the folks I have ever walked up to, well, aside from some viciously antagonistic farmers I tried to photograph in China, but that was a very different issue. Anyway…
There is no secret to walking up to folks and asking them if you can take their photo, but just to make sure we are all clear, I am no better at this than any of you. I just smiled, asked politely, and showed respect for his response, which was something to the effect of “Well, I do not know why you would want to take a photo of me.”
I jumped up on the railing around the tank he was filling, he continued doing his job, and I took a few quick shots. I had another, but his expression looked like he was unsuccessfully trying to smile for the camera, though he was just making some kind of accidental face while going about his business. I chose this one because of the interesting hold he has on the hose. I do not quite know why he held it this way to insert the nozzle, but I am glad I captured it.
I thanked him and was on my way. The whole thing did not take more than two or three minutes, and I was able to capture something that we see all too rarely and preserve it as one more record of how our society functions, how our workers work, how it all fits together.