Before 'Life In Leighton Buzzard' was really a thing, I took a picture of a very interesting character I came across on the high street. I later discovered that the gentleman went by the name of Kenneth 'Kenny' Walker, a local of over 25 years.
Although our paths only crossed for this fleeting exchange, I was deeply saddened to be contacted by his daughter Sophie on Wednesday with the dreadful news that he had unexpectedly passed away at 52 - such a young age!
Unfortunately I never got to meet Ken, though I always looked out for him around town in the hope I would - I do know that he saw the picture, and liked it. To this day, it remains one of my favourite shots from the area.
I've questioned the purpose of the project many times. Sometimes it seems really worthwhile. Sometimes it feels utterly pointless. When Sophie contacted me on the evening he passed, asking if she could use this 'wonderful' picture of her dad for his funeral as she didn't have many of him, I felt hugely humbled.
People are important.
Memories are important.
I take pictures of strangers on the streets. Some people like it, some don't. Though I'm just a stranger to Kenny and his family, I hope this photo helps to ease his passing and bring some comfort in the days ahead.
Today, 'Life In Leighton Buzzard' feels extremely relevant...
('Life In Leighton Buzzard' is a street photography project based on where I live, Leighton Buzzard. See the project here - www.facebook.com/lifeinleightonbuzzard)