Living in a crowded city is a strange combination of crowded intimacy and lonely reserve. As an example, there is very small, below street level doorway garden less than a block from us that always has a magnificent collection of roses seemingly endlessly in bloom. When winter comes, there’s a small bird feeder with a constant supply of suet that takes care of hundreds of house sparrows.
The caretaker of this blooming bounty is a nice lady with whom I occasionally exchange a few words, never much more.
Today was different. Setting out on my usual street shooting walk, I noticed a woman chatting happily with the owner of a very cute dog. The scene didn’t really lend itself to a photo so I just sat and watched. The surprise came as she was leaving her conversation with the dog owner she turned and recognized ME.My wife joined us and the three of us had a friendly conversation.
Anyway, the upshot to this is that in this often lonely time we are living through, a chance encounter sweeps away a lot of dusty cobwebs.
What does alone mean in todays hyper digital society? I’m not sure. However sitting on a storage crate, under a dingy underpass, staring intently at a very powerful little electonic device is as good a working definition as any.
This was taken in Grand Central Station a few years ago. It’s a different kind of photograph than I usually take. It is minimalist to the extreme and not in sharp focus to boot. The mood and the story are primary. I like it as much for what isn’t in the frame as for what is.
We’re traveling now. Yesterday we came upon a settlement of people living on top of a freezing cold mountain pass in Wyoming. This photograph is of one of their houses. I believe it takes a very special (unusual) person to want to live this way. Which only goes to underscore how different human beings are.