Twice today, I headed towards Florida State campus to photograph baseball. Twice, said game was cancelled. And although I’m sure I could find a variety of productive things to do instead, after I found out it was cancelled the second time, I decided to head out in the bleak weather, and shoot some photographs anyways.
I ended up in the the chain of parks that run between the two one-way Park Avenues.
I wandered around for a bit, in the wind and pissing rain, and then headed back to my car to go home. As I drove west, and passed by Trinity United Methodist Church, I noticed a homeless man.
My photographer’s eye is perpetually on the prowl for things that I think will make beautiful or inspiring images, and this man, well…
Slumped in the center most doorframe on the top step of Trinity UM, framed by the multi-story pillars on either side of him, his dark brown skin – almost black in the dusky shadows – contrasted deeply with the clean, white paint of the church’s front facade. And his feet – even from my car, in the middle of the street, well, I could tell his feet were large, and bare. The image I saw in my mind was striking, and I knew that I needed to try and take it.
But I also know that although he might have let me take it had I stopped and asked him, I would never try to take advantage of ANYONE like that, let alone a man who was so obviously down and out at that moment.
So I decided to go grab him a bite to eat, and come back to see if he was [hopefully] still there, and if he was amenable to having a photograph taken after having some warm food.
I quickly drove to Whataburger, and grabbed a double-patty burger, and returned to downtown…only to find the man wasn’t there. Dismayed, I made a u-turn and proceeded to head back towards home, just about to open the burger and indulge myself. Glancing out my window though, I noticed another homeless man huddled under a covered seating area in the park. I parked, got out, offered the man the burger, which he very gratefully accepted, after which I left and went back on my way.
In the end – no photo, but I hope that I warmed that man’s stomach, and his evening.
I think no matter who you are: atheist, agnostic, Christian, Muslim, Jew; whether devout or otherwise – random acts of kindness are what helps the world go ’round. Of course, I would have liked to be able to share the image I saw in my head with the world, but I absolutely would not have stopped and asked to take it without some form of compensation for the poor man. I would have abhorred myself. And although I wasn’t able to get the picture I wanted, or help the first guy I saw, I was able to help out another man who looked in need.
On that note: Happy Easter, and if you ever have the gut urge to do something nice for someone – go for it!