Monday, September 13, 2010
I remember when I took this picture. I was walking down a sidewalk when I noticed this man sitting on the ground. There was something about him that made me slow down. What was it, I wondered perplexed. He had black tangled hair and a bushy beard, his clothing was worn and tattered, and his fingernails were black. He looked like so many others who begged for money on the streets. It’s not an uncommon trait from where I come from.
Trying not to stare or be rude, I moved on. But soon, I found myself looking over my shoulder, thinking and wondering about him. What was his story? And what was it about him that made him stand out? I turned back. Hesitantly, I approached him. His dark brown eyes were steady and straightforward as he looked up at me. I paused. He didn’t ask me for anything. Not sure what else to do, I put some change into his cup.
Back then, I carried my camera with me at all times and I was bold enough to ask if I could take his picture. The man nodded without a word. He looked straight at me as I aimed the camera. He was still, he was quiet and he was firm. His eyes. His eyes were what had caught and held my attention. They were… faintly intense. There was no sadness or apology in his eyes, no pain or indignation. His stare wasn’t pleading in anyway. To me, he seemed dignified and proud, and that diminished his appearance of poverty. It made him stand out as a man.
I took his picture years ago. And till this day, I find the intensity in his eyes unforgettable.