Monday, November 17, 2008

mel's shine stand (business closed)

If I had the courage to approach folks and ask for their picture (I don't) I'd do a photo essay on shoe shine stands in airports.

Shoe shine stands give off the same big boy vibe that Barber Shops do (another largely male domain I'd love to shoot someday), and are usually manned by an old guy reading the paper who would be chomping a stogy if smoking in airports was still allowed.

I've only once seen a woman having her shoes shined at an airport stand, and I've never had the courage to get a shine myself, although I could use one.

The fittings and furnishings of the shoe shine stand often seem independent of their surroundings. Regardless of how shiny new the airport may be the architecture of the shoe shine stand usually hails from somewhere between 1956 and 1973, as if it was schlepped in from the curb just as the doors were opening on the new terminal. "Hey: You forgot this," says the old guy with the stogy, while the guy in the suit rolls his eyes and turns away.

Incidentally and probably not accurately I've arrived at the conclusion that the farther East you go the more frequently shoe shine stalls are actually *used* and engaged in earning their owners a living.

I've wondered in my purely unscientific way if the prevalence of casual attire and the running shoe has urged the slow demise of folks like Mel at SeaTac who has now closed his transient stoop and no longer shines the black leather loafers or brushes the brown tassles of the shoes his clients wore as they passed between here and over there and home again.

Snapped this a few months back in Seattle. Posting by cameraphone. Killing time infight before I touch down in Portland.

1 comment:

anniemcq said...

I was going to make a comment on this post about having that same desire to snap photos of people and feeling to shy to ask, then I was loving the post, then I read PORTLAND.


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