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Shelter

2010 November 14

I try to resist the temptation to photograph homeless people. Certainly, the opportunity presents itself often enough. Especially in a city like New York. It feels like you’ll be taking a great picture, full of emotion and sympathy for the subject. Every tear in their clothing, every line in their face, every tattered bag they drag along with them, seems to contribute to their story. But then they look up at you. There’s a recognition in their eyes. They know what you’re doing. They know you have an interest in their plight, but only a superficial one. An interest only in how it looks. The image it will make. Some get angry. Some yell. But most just look at you sadly. As if your camera is taking away the very last shred of dignity they had. I snapped this picture quickly, knowing the man was asleep. And knowing my picture would not show his face. Even so, I offer my apologies. And my respect. This life can not be easy.

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