Attempting to get a good shot of the new murals in the carpark that turns into the Willis St vege market on Sunday mornings, I see this woman in her red coat and with her cow, choosing capsicums. I wonder about the cow. Does it belong to a child she's with? I don't see one.
I snapped a few shots of her - people will keep unco-operatively moving their limbs out of the frame - when I hear an American accent beside me.
"What are you going do with those?"
His voice is not unfriendly, but I still get nervous about street portraiture like this. I don't know whether this means I should stop doing it or do more of it, but when I stop I tend to depopulate my city, and it's not like that, really. Every photograph is a lie of a sort, but I try not to lie too much.
"I'lI probably post them to my blog." I say, showing him the image. It looks good, well framed and colourful, even on the LCD screen of the camera in broad daylight.
"She's my wife" he says. I wonder if he's going to be upset. "We're performing artists, and we're protective about our images." He doesn't seem upset.
"It's just my way of diarising, sharing what I see, the unusual things and the quite ordinary things with my friends. They're all over the world, in the US, England, other places. I don't write so well you see, but this I can do." I trip over my words, attempting to appear quite harmless. "I don't have a card, but I can give you the link." I search my bag for a pen and find a scrap of paper on the ground. "So what sort of performances do you do?"
They're both Butoh dancers, a modern form, originally Japanese, but which tends to shift and change with the culture of the performers. He told me the name of their group, With Lime, and where I could find them on YouTube. I'd never heard of Butoh before - turns out that when you leave the house you learn things. I think this is my favourite of the YouTube Butoh clips I found. I'm not sure human bodies should do that, but it's kinda cool.
And the cow? Turns out it's her purse, it's gender confused and it only has one nostril.