We arrived to the Fairmont late tonight, it was almost 11 pm. There was a wedding in the lobby so it was obnoxiously loud and frantic as we walked in to the ballroom lit with Christmas lights and ginger bread houses. I was thinking to myself: "God, I don't want to come back down here...but I have to." This was my first time staying here and as I walked into the room, my eyes lit up at the beauty of it, the wallpaper was exquisite, the art work on the walls were stunning, I even had my own dressing table with a gorgeous creme colored bench. I set down my brush and make up bag and looked forward to getting ready there tomorrow. It crossed my mind to stay in...but only for a moment. I could not miss my portrait today. I threw on a pair of sweats and sandals, packed my camera into my satchel, and walked determined down the hall to the elevators, hoping I would miraculously stumble upon a photo subject in the hallway so that I wouldn't have to leave the hotel. Yes, tonight this project was a burden, but I had to shake it off and remind myself that it's about the adventure of it all, not just the photograph.
I walked outside, and oh my lord! It was much colder than I had expected! Again, I hoped I could snap and run. No such luck as I wandered through the animated Christmas festival that was happening just outside the door. But then I noticed the carnival just across the street, there were lights flashing everywhere, floods of people gathering around the rides and games, and I thought "I'm in luck now!" My feet were freezing off, as I had open toed shoes, and all I could think was that I was going to catch a cold trying to get this shot tonight. I ventured on, determined, but then I felt a slight curl in my lip. I found myself smiling at the scenes around me, flashbacks of carnivals from my childhood, and the burden was replaced with gratitude. I walked up to the ping pong floaty dish toss and stood there watching one of the workers, he was so animated, bouncing around the dish toss pond squeezing a large, round stuffed toy. We started talking as I asked him questions..."What's the biggest toy you've given out tonight?", "Don't your hands get cold dipping them into the water so much?", "How many days has this been going on?" He said he's been there nine to ten in the morning till ten or eleven at night every night- oh, except for two- since it opened. "When did it open?", I asked. "Day before Thanksgiving, and it goes till January 5th!" he said proudly. He said he loved it though, and I thought he meant that he loved the thrill of seeing people come and try their hand at winning every day, seeing the kids play, interacting with the teenagers as they spent all their allowances trying to win a huge white teddy bear.... He clarified for me that "What I'm gunna love is the pay check!". "Well, what are you gunna do with that pay check?" I asked bluntly. "Hmmm" he pondered, Probably get a Play Station II, that'll be fun..." I laughed and agreed with him. In the middle of our chat I realized that I was having fun with this carnival guy and that I was privileged to have the opportunity to get a glimpse into his world. I walked back across the dozens of Christmas trees and lit up trains with frozen toes, but a warmed up spirit, blessed to have met another soul that only my camera could lead me to.