or be kind… or (seeing as it’s easter and all) wwJd…
regardless of the title, i thought it a touching story…
“Every so often you take a photograph that has personal impact on your life. This photo is one of those for me.
I took this photo on the Burnside Bridge in Portland. The Burnside Bridge is one of the areas of Portland where homeless people congregate. There are a few homeless shelters there and lots of homeless people hang out just underneath the bridge. I was up shooting the bridge at night and the “Made in Oregon” neon sign that can be seen from the bridge.
While I was shooting I was wearing headphones and listening to music on my iPhone. As I was walking across the bridge this man, this man, approached me saying something while I had my headphones on.
In a moment that I am very ashamed of I did not remove my headphones. Instead I said back to the man that I didn’t have any money. I said this to the man without having heard what he was asking me. I could tell from his expression that he was annoyed by my response. At this point I took my headphones off to hear what he was saying.
What the man said to me was that he didn’t want my money. That he was not asking me for money, that he was asking me if I would take his photograph. I was very embarrassed. First off, I didn’t even have enough respect for another human being to take my headphones off and hear him out in the first place. And secondly I’d jumped to a conclusion that the man simply was trying to get me to give him money. I felt bad that I’d insulted this man. And I felt ashamed of the way I’d treated another human being.
After our interaction on the bridge I could not get my interaction with this man out of my head for the next few days. I was so ashamed at myself for jumping to the conclusion that I had and for not removing my headphones to speak with the man when he approached me. This beautiful man had approached me and wanted nothing more than to be photographed by a stranger. He was giving his image to me and I felt that I’d treated him so badly. I also felt bad that I didn’t even try to get his name or an address or something afterwards to send him the photograph. I had been taken by surprise by the interaction and was flustered and had acted poorly and thoughtlessly.
This interaction made me decide to try and make a greater effort in the future to connect with strangers on a human level.”