Shop on a Dark Sidewalk

Past nine last night. That was on a very dirty sidewalk next to a park wall perpetually dark so conveniently that many passers-by pee on it at night. After observing a quarter of a minute I became sure that I was seeing an old man collecting his goods and putting them very slowly (as if reluctantly or he was perhaps folding them neatly) into a sack one after another. He had been selling very cheap winter clothes—caps, scarves, and children’s jackets, hung out with pegs down ropes stretched across the electric pole and road sign posts (the poles and posts must have been the reason for his selecting that site). I would not have thought one can sell anything there at that spot—it was smelly there and the darkness would require any prospective buyer to strain their eyes. “We sold garbage to garbage men,” I remembered Jordan Belford say in The Wolf of Wall Street. There is market for every single area of human life—at least some exchange, toward the least commercial end of the spectrum. The old man must be targeting people who live in the shades and are at home in the dirt and the open space of a cold sidewalk.

After remaining there in the darkness for a while the details began to show up slowly. But the scene required me to slower the shutter speed, open the aperture wide and turn up the ISO–1/8 sec, f/4.5, ISO 3200.


I stood watching him for long—nobody bought anything. Once a passer-by, a young man, (he had the impression of being yet unmarried) stopped by and casually pointed to something which I did not see. They exchanged a few words indiscernible to me in the traffic’s din, and in four seconds he left.

No other passers-by gave even a glance at his sale (probably it was past the time when his goods sold): everything moving passed by him—people, dogs, bicycles, bikes, cars, buses.

The old man quietly kept on collecting his goods back into his sack. He must have come on his tricycle standing beside his shop.


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