This is not the photo that I wanted to take. The photo I wanted to take I did not take due to the fact that I was scared to snap the shutter.
Ten feet to the right of this photo was a homeless man. A homeless man, with long gray hair that was past his shoulders. He was dressed in black dress pants, black dress shirt, barefoot and siting in the lotus position on a large piece of cardboard. Behind him was his shopping cart filled with all his life possessions. He looked at peace with himself. He looked wise. He looked as if once he had everything a man could hope for then walked away from his daily life in search of truth. In search of higher meaning. A Buddha wondering in the park.
That is the shot I wanted to take.
Why did I not take it?
Fear. I felt uncomfortable because he was watching me closely. As I kept an eye on him for an opportunity to sneak in a shot he kept a watch on me. In hindsight I should have walked over and talked with him and offered him a couple of dollars and permission to take his photo.
Would that have offended him? I do not know. But what I do know is that I lacked the courage to take the photo, missing an opportunity to document this moment.
I go to this park all the time. The park is across the street from our studio. I have done hundreds of shoots in this park, never before have I seen this man.
I am guessing that I will never see him again.
Lesson learned: face your fears, be honest with yourself, talk with your subject….and take the shot.
The light is never the same twice.