Photo: In My ‘Hood (She’s So Tired)

After I left the library yesterday, I decided to take a walk to Extra, the other supermarket  in my neighborhood to do some grocery shopping. 

On the way, I noticed this older lady snoozing on one of the benches in the public square near the MLK Plaza Shopping Center, where the supermarket is located.

After I took the photo and walked away, an older man called out to her, several times, because she really did doze off….the man asked her if she knew that someone was looking for her. She never noticed that I photographed her, but I’m not sure if the man did.  He didn’t say anything…I wonder if someone was looking for her because that person was concerned about her well-being, or because that person needed or wanted something.

At any rate, while I spent some time editing the photo this morning, I got to thinking about all the older women who are forgotten, neglected, tired, worn out.  They care for us, they give us the best years of their lives, and what do they get in return? 

I bet she used to have a full head of hair when she was young, but that’s lost.  Her skin is worn.  She rests because that’s all she ever wanted.  Rest. 

It may seem silly to a GenXer like me that a woman would just doze off on a park bench…but when I really begin to think about it, is it?

What’s silly is how we treat older people, like they don’t have anything to offer, like they’re a nuisance or an inconvenience. 

I guess it’s the times we live in.

[UPDATE, May 13, 2011:  This image, hands down, is one of my favorites… it may not be one of my most technically sound images, but to me, it conveys a depth of emotion and feeling that goes beyond technical merit.  Sometimes when I’m out shooting, and I come across scenes like this, they make me pause and wonder, why am I the only one seeing this?  It almost seems like I’m the only one on the street when stuff like this goes down, and I’m almost compelled to capture what I see because if I was forced to try to verbally describe what I saw, I’d be at a profound loss for words.  At any rate, I will go on record here and say that if this photography thing goes anywhere, and no one bothers to see the beauty in this image, it is a sad commentary indeed.  Why? Because for me, this image, singlehandedly changed my approach to street photography.  That’s why.]

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