It's a toss up as to how I title photos. Sometimes the title is inspired by a song I'm listening to, other times it comes from some clever allusion to a vague reference, how I would name a particular chapter in a book of my life or how I'm feeling at that moment. Often, I'm at a loss and have to think about it for awhile. That afternoon, as I framed up the rooftops of the buildings along West 9th St. along with the Carew Tower, a passerby unknowingly titled the photo for me.
I'm standing at the northern edge of a surface parking lot near Richmond St. It's late in the afternoon, almost evening time at the end of the weekend. I've been out working on frames for #224Cincy all day. I've been struggling with this shot. I can see how I want it to be - the rooftops and how they flow from ornate to worn down all with the Carew Tower, a key symbol of the Cincinnati Skyline, to the left. I try various lenses, finally my 28-70 Sigma allows me to line up the shot how I envisioned it. I light up a cigarette and gaze around. Since it's not a business day, the parking lot is empty. Aside from a few cars on Ninth and church bells in the distance, it's eerily quiet downtown. As I double check the shot, the urban "silence" is broken by a man passing by. Headphones in his ear, he staggers by singing:
"Huslte, hustle, hustle, hard.Hustle, hustle, hustle, hard.Hustle, hustle, hustle, hard.Closed mouths don't get fed on this boulevard."
"Ugly surface lots broken up by the cobblestones of an alley that used to cut between buildings."
The guy didn't acknowledge or seem to notice me. He didn't need to though, but if he had I would've thanked him. His last line about "closed mouths," would become the title for the photo. Why not? I couldn't think of anything better to call it at the time and he came by right as I got the shot how I wanted.
I googled the lyrics and found out that they're part of a song by "Ace Hood" called "Hustle Hard." If it's not hip-hop from the early-mid 90's, I generally hate it. This song is no exception, it sucks. It's downright awful. I had been hoping that when I finally found out what the song was, it would be good. Not the case. The title remains though and credit for it goes to the unknown bystander who passed by me. Maybe one day he'll see this and realize it was him - if you're reading this, I thank you.
"The passerby who unknowingly titled #9."
"An alleyway between the buildings on 9th St."