As she looked up at me


From across the street I could not read their sign. Not until later flipping through images did I see what they were asking for. It was her that caught my eye, she had a look about her that I will never forget. I am not one to photograph the homeless, most times the images become more about the photographer than the their subject. Not until she turned her head and looked up at me did I lift the camera. This image has haunted me from the day I first shot it. I never had plans to share it with the world, I never had plans to share her pain, to share her shame. I recently read a book called “The Free” by Willy Vlautin, in his novel there is a character named Jo. she is a young girl who has run away from home.  Her first intentions were to just get away and live a life were maybe she could be heard, be loved for who she was. Her life soon became a mess, a mess that spiraled so out of control, a life that lacked hope.  As I read on, this image kept coming back to me.  I began to think about it night and day, the words started falling out of my head, I needed to share this story.  I have no idea where she is today, I am not sure if she has found all that she is looking for or if she is being heard or loved for who she is.  To be honest with you I know nothing about her life and maybe I should not be expressing an opinion. But I do know this, that day she looked up at me, it was a look of despair and look of shame a look that told me that she could still feel and that tells me that she still feels hope.  Maybe she will stumble upon this image and send me a message that she is just fine, has plenty of money in the bank, a house on the beach and to mind my own business.  I really hope she does, I would love to know that she is happy and I would like to think that where ever she is today, she has a smile on her face.