20 seconds at the Uyamabashi Bridge.
20 seconds. That is what our exchange of glances lasted. I was on a barge sailing the waters of Sumida River in Tokyo, with my camera ready and all my senses alert. I was lucky that November morning. It was cold, very cold, but the sun bathed Tokyo with a warm and clean light. The wind had blown the night before and it had cleared the mist of pollution that hovers over the city tirelessly. When I passed under the metal structure of the Uyamabashi Bridge, which reminded me of Eiffel’s structures, I turned around to avoid the sun in backlight. And then I saw him and he saw me. An already mature man, elegant, with an American hat and an earpiece hanging from his right ear. I guess he was listening to the radio though, at that moment, I must confess he reminded me of Inspector Clouseau. As I said, at the same time when I turned around in my plastic seat at the stern of the barge my glance and his met. I felt a tension that a photographer rarely has the chance to feel. The light, the scenery, the reality and the character… everything was in place. My man walked calmly across the bridge while watching me. I felt like a sniper. I measured the light, decided which focal length to use, framed and waited for the right moment to shoot. When the man came to the middle of the bridge, I lifted the camera without hiding. He stopped and looked at me with an intensity and understanding that I had never before experienced. The man and his hat, the yellow sign with black lettering, the oxide green metal. I shot only once. 20 seconds and an impression impossible to forget.