How to face life

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Photography is interesting in the way that it allows stories to unfold from mere moments in space and time.  You see a hammer fall onto a nail, the shutter goes click, and the minds that sees the picture tells you a house has been built or a messiah sacrificed.  No two stories are the same, but each has the potential to be tremendous in its own transformational way.  For instance, I saw the above gentleman being interviewed by a much younger, much cleaner and nicer looking guy.  They struck me as an odd pair.  The fellow above appeared to be homeless, or, at most to have very little in the way of assets.  As I watched the pair, I found my eyes and my curiosity drawn to the subject above.  I listened, too, to his gruff voice, and observed his rougher manners.  Yet in his hand was an old letter, and it was this that seemed the topic of their conversation.  My wife noticed too, and later told me she’d overheard the older guy admit, “I haven’t always been very nice.”  Reading his face, I think we can all see that without his having to say it.

But back to story-telling.  I look at the picture above, and my story becomes one of confrontation.  I see a face that has wizened through age and suffering, that has faced storms of every variety–rain and snow, wind and sun, the storms of relationships gone sour, the raining down of blows in street brawls, the tempest that stirs in the souls of those unlucky few who cannot accept society’s calls to conform.  I write a story of a man who has, indeed, confronted all of life head on and said to it, “I will face you eye to eye.”

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