United by a beaming grin and the soft click of a camera, two Vancouverites created a magical moment on an otherwise gloomy day.
But the photographer wasn’t sure if he’d ever get a chance to make contact with the man in the photo.
In an earlier interview, artist Raphael Esiriel said: Vancouver is amazing the labourers were installing windows and one of them “caught my attention…he really enjoyed that moment and his smile was so contagious.”
The construction site was the Vancouver Center II – a 33-story downtown office, located near the intersection of Georgia and Seymour.
It was a “tricky moment” as the workers slide huge glass windows off a rope from the outside, and the worker below the one in the photo had to catch and install it without breaking anything, Esiriel explained. †[It’s] It’s not every day you see a man so close to the edge, so high.”
The photographer added that he hoped the worker saw the photo, noting that he thought he might have seen him take some pictures of another building “but there was no way to communicate”.
The muse responds
After VIA published the story about the worker with the “bright smile”, one of his colleagues reached out to say they recognized him in the photo.
Oscar Lopez, 32, has been calling Vancouver home for the past four years and has worked in window installation for nearly three years. While he now feels at home working at heights, he was not always comfortable navigating the towering structures.
“You don’t have to look down,” he noted in a telephone interview. “You feel it in your stomach… like a roller coaster when you look down.”
While he still feels a bit of a shock looking down, he added that he wasn’t really afraid of going through the tall buildings after about six months.
Hailing from Merida, the bustling capital of Mexico’s Yucatán state, Lopez first came to Vancouver on vacation and fell in love with the city. After school, he got his first job installing windows in the Park Royal Towers in West Vancouver.
While he admits the work is difficult (any kind of blow to the glass will break it and the wind can be a big problem), he cites a good relationship with his colleagues as the reason he enjoys his work.
“It was rainy when the photo was taken… but the job has to be done and I was happy,” he said. “The hardest part is creating the layout. Once you have that, the rest is a breeze.
“Like a synchronized swimmer.”