Years of Heartache...


Hi everyone-

Today's image was shot last week at the corner of 56th and Avenue of the Americas (6th) in NYC.

I could see this woman squatting by a scaffolding pole holding out her cup as we approached up the block.

It was not until we got much closer that I could see her face more clearly and felt an immediate connection to her.

I told my wife that I had to talk to her and take a photograph of her. The story on her face and the heartache in her eyes was overpowering.

I tried to speak to her but could only communicate through gesture and extremely broken English, if any.

I did not learn her story or her current situation but we connected for just a few moments.

I waited to take this image until the couple walking down the street was a bit beyond her. I did this to symbolize what most of her day is like, watching the people of New York, busy, unaffected and sometimes callus walk past without a second glance or thought.

I know some of you call me a sucker, but these people touch my heart. For many there are no options. Not all of these people are shady and shifty. Some are truly struggling to make it to the next day. Some are not just battling poverty and destitute but mental illness and the stigma of their situation.

Imagine if you lost everything and you had no options, to live on the street is hard enough, imaging the place you have to put yourself in to swallow your pride and dignity to beg for help from strangers.

It is sad and is a terrible issue that looms in our cities. But what to do about it? I don't have the answers. But I will continue to highlight this issue as often as I can in hopes that someday it might make a difference in someones life.

Have a great day!


Barry Armer said...

This is a really wonderful photo Brian! The story it tells is very powerful and your composition and post-processing are perfect!!!

Well done!

Jan Klier said...


Great shot, and story is great too. This is where all that practice about not being able to talk comes in handy, doesn't it :-)

I totally agree with you on the intensity and richness of this area. I had the pleasure to shoot there last June.

Maybe we should make this our next group meet-up?


Jan Klier said...

Forgot: Also great how you waited for the couple to frame the shot just right. The difference between a pro and casual photographer.


Faye said...

nice shot!