Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dignity in Human frailty

Holga, Lomography Iso 100
How can one as an artist depict human frailty and at the same time show dignity?

Whenever I have a chance, I want to take pictures of people.  Not just casual pictures.  But pictures that tell stories.  And one of the things I've always been drawn to is when the picture depicts the essence of humanity.  The image above was shot while walking along the streets of Old Town Pasadena.  Now this place is filled with interesting people.  There are street musicians, hobos, parking attendants and so on.  I've always considered this a haven for street photo ops.

I do not know much about the man in the picture.  Yet I see pain and suffering as I look at his face.  He is troubled but it seems he has learned to live through many difficulties.  As his left hand dangles on his knee, I sense that he doesn't let his pain bother him.  He is almost immune to it.  You don't see it in the picture but he has a beat up electric guitar by his side.  I imagine him to be a blues player.  Perhaps he is living the blues... literally.

The picture was taken a couple of years ago but I've struggled about posting it for fear that people may accuse me of exploitation.  This is certainly far from my intent.  In my mind, this man is made in the image of his Creator.  He has inherent dignity, endowed and not a result of what he has done.  It doesn't matter what he does, or who he is.  I wanted to convey a balance image of this man consisting of both dignity and frailty.  It's not easy.
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