Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Photo A Day For 6 Months: Day 131~ Required Viewing For All Presidential Candidates

"A weird in which we are alive. We can travel anywhere we want, even to other planets. And for what? To sit day after day, declining in morale and hope."

~ Philip K. Dick, The Man In The High Castle

I tool this photo in the late summer of, I believe, 2005. I only had a moment to decide if I wanted to do the photo, as we sat at a red light in San Francisco. In the moment I couldn't decide if I was invading his privacy, or, if by doing so, would make him feel worse than he clearly already did. For whatever reason, he was alone, and clearly in despair. I heard myself think the word despair in my mind, and at that moment I snapped the picture. It left me with a lot of sadness afterwards. But at the same time, and in many ways, I knew I had photographed something profound, almost like I saw the lesson, or perhaps saw the meaning of the momentary play, that I had just seen.

It has not been lost on me that my camera has provided me many different ways off seeing the world. The good... following a film idol around as he makes cinema magic, the BAD... the mean spirited hatred of opposing opinions, and the UGLY...the protest signs on the Cal Berkeley Campus which had pictures of the atrocities Bust/Cheney war... and yes... the PROFOUND... the day to day life of the homeless. It's their pictures that I can't always bring myself to share here, but there are times that I feel that they need to be seen, and acknowledged.

Please take a look at the whole picture, if you feel comfortable doing so, and tell me what you see. Tell me how you feel. Tell me your impression. Every time I look at it, I see something different that moves my impression of it along like a kind of evolution. He is dressed in fairly new clothing, despite the rip in the jacket. He is wearing nice polished shoes... and socks... you don't see that often on the homeless. He has a large cart that belongs to him, and holds what is probably his only world positions. He is sitting on the bench, with a bottle of alcohol next to him... and a glass with a dark beverage inside it. Also something you rarely see, a homeless drinking from a glass, as if he couldn't forget his manners.

It seems that he was very new to his circumstance... and it had devastated him. I state the obvious. I know what I feel about it, and I will never forget him. Just a couple years later, Alan and I would go through one of our worst times in our marriage, financially speaking, and here we are, a few years later back to something resembling a more normal life. We are among the lucky ones. I thank God almost every day that we made the decision to not have children. I have seen the devastation this economy has had on families. Friends. Losing houses. Not having enough to eat, even with 2 paychecks. Sigh.

I could say a lot about the events of the last week or so. But I won't. I will just say...

I believe this photo should be required viewing for all presidential candidates.

I believe this image is the point. The point of everything.


Today's Link is from our friend JR...



jr cline said...

Photos like this always touch my heart. I take them too. I attempt to help people in dire circumstances when I can. Taking pictures like this and publicizing them is important work. It publicizes the situation and helpfully motivates people to get involved. You are so right about the presidential candidates seeing this photo. They are so far removed from the day to day reality of most people.


Karen Funk Blocher said...

That has to be right up there as one of your most important photos ever.