Sons of Anarchy Virginia, 2013
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I’m always beating myself up over the pictures I didn’t take when I had the chance. Well, here’s myself another chance I almost gave myself to do it again past weekend.
I was prowling the downtown Norfolk waterfront Saturday morning. I’d gone there to shoot photos of the harbor while it was shrouded in dense fog. I got a good hour of shooting in before the sun finally started to burn off the fog.
Satisfied with my photo haul for the morning, I was on my way back to my car when I noticed this couple roll by (illegally) on the Riverwalk and stop at the landing for the Elizabeth River Ferry, a pedestrian-only vessel that carries people back and forth between the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth.
At first I didn’t pay much attention to them. The young lady dismounted and stood beside the guy. I assumed she was there to catch the ferry. Then I noticed the driver taking off his helmet, revealing the cap shown underneath. I couldn’t hear what they were saying. From a distance, though, the body language spoke of hostility.
Normally I’d have kept on walking. But then I noticed the “Sons of Anarchy Virginia” hoodie. If you’re a fan of the FX Channel’s “Sons of Anarchy” motorcycle gang soap opera, you’ll know that guys who wear the “Sons” patch aren’t to be messed with, at least in the fictional California town of Charming. (Yes, Charming.)
The further I got from the couple the more I started kicking myself for not having photographed them. I decided that I couldn’t let this moment pass and turned around. As I got close enough for them to be conscious of me, they stopped their arguing temporarily. The young man looked up at me with an expression of contempt. But I pushed on and told him I’d noticed his “Sons” hoodie and wondered if I could photograph him wearing it. The look of contempt disappeared and he was extremely polite in telling that he couldn’t be photographed. “The law, you know,” as if I’d understand.
(Why is it I seem to be drawn to people on the lam?)
The young man did tell me, however, that I could photograph the hoodie as long as his face wasn’t visible. So I quickly jumped around behind them and took this shot. I’d like to have taken more shots from other angles. But the young lady made it clear to me that she wanted to resolve whatever argument they’d been having before the ferry arrived. I thanked them and moved on.
I didn’t really consider the young man to be much of a menace. The “real” Sons of Anarchy—you know, the ones on the fictitious TV show—ride giant Harleys rather than little Japanese rice rockets and wear leather jackets with real patches instead of hoodies that probably come from the mall.
But it seemed to be important to the young man that I know that he’s a certified badass. “It’s a real club, you know,” he called to me as I walked away.