"It's just another Wednesday night," I kept telling myself, but there was a strange sense of solitude among the masses that filled the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport that evening. People walking to and fro, absentmindedly, with their heads drawn deeply into the glowing screens they each held. All the while, Christmas music played over the speakers, filling the complex with a din of chatter fused with a backdrop of jingling bells.
I had a few hours in Atlanta, so I killed the time with a slow drink at one of the bars while I sensed the anxious buzz of frazzled travelers all around me. Over my left shoulder, a man in a red sweater played the ivory keys of a piano - but everything felt somehow out of place: me, sipping a warm beer between a Chik-fil-A and the Duty Free, and live holiday music in this impersonal space of an airport. Every fifteen minutes or so, hurried pilots glided past with their heavy, black roller bags, undoubtedly trying to get to their next aircraft on time. To my right, a woman ended a call on her headset, ordered a Merlot, and turned to ask me if I was from Atlanta originally, all in one fell swoop. "No," I said, "I'm traveling for business, but not even in Atlanta... I'm just making a connection here." To this, the corner of her mouth curled up into a half smile. Then she flipped her hair and turned her attention to her drink.
While trying to think of something clever to say, my mobile phone buzzed and alerted me that my flight was boarding. I put a few dollars on the bar for the bartender and stood to grab my bags and put on my coat. "Merry Christmas" the woman said to me, and then immediately turned away again, burying herself into her phone and flicking through some kind of social media stream. The piano man transitioned from one Christmas carol to another; in between, I wished her the same and said goodbye.
My fascination with airports stems from the temporal nature of our interactions in these spaces. In airports, the collisions of our lives with one another happen only for the briefest of periods. All of us, individually, passing through any given airport on any given day, in combinations never to be naturally duplicated again. What are the chances, then, of finding someone again after we leave?
After capturing these images, I searched through the "Missed Connections" section of the Atlanta Craigslist looking for personal ads that included the string "ATL." Some of the results are presented here as complements to the candid images taken on December 16, 2015 when I passed through the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport.
Footnotes: All images, Fujifilm X-T1 with Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R / All quotes extracted from anonymously posted personal ads filed under the "Missed Connections" section of the Atlanta Craigslist.