Finding Dignity in Unexpected Places

I felt something very special when I took this gentleman’s picture. Even though he was dirty and sitting on the sidewalk, he straightened up and combed his hair with his hand when I asked for his permission to take his picture. He even smiled at me. It was obvious to me that he had not let his situation in life take away his dignity.

Even though the world passes him by on a daily basis, much like the car speeding by, he reminded me that all members of the human race possess dignity and deserve respect.


44 responses to “Finding Dignity in Unexpected Places

  1. I don’t do that much street shooting, but when I do I always look for the homeless and ask to take their picture. I almost always get a positive response and like this man, they do their best to put on their best face for my camera. It reminds me that we are all people and we are all connected. While life has dealt them an entirely different hand than it has dealt me, when we were all young, we all had the same dreams, aspirations, and desires. I consider myself fortunate enough to be able to see almost all of mine come to fruition. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for those living on the street. Sometimes, it makes me wonder what makes me the one to be where I am at and not in their shoes.

  2. That’s a great story behind the photo and wonderful that you would notice while making the image. I assumed he posed for you but after reading the story I realize the situation was more personal.

    • Hi Andrea. Thank you for the kind words and for giving me the opportunity to visit your blog. I saw a lot of nice things there. Think I will be back for more. I thought it was very inspiring. Good luck on all your travels. πŸ™‚

  3. Hello Richert…New in your place….I think it is true we can find dignitity in unexpected places..And love, and tenderness, and intelligence, and beauty…But what is difficult is to be able to open our eyes and to look at what we have in front..And this is what you did…And because of that he was happy…Because you SHAW him..I like it! I like as well your pic about “Solitary”…

      • I think we like it because what you have done is taken a couple of photos that are extremely moving and emotional of something people pass by all of the time and do not think about. We’re all too busy thinking about our own problems to notice other people’s problems. And so what you’ve done, by taking and posting these pictures, is stirred emotion and caused us to ‘think’ about what we oftentimes ‘don’t’ think about. That is why we like it. You stirred emotion…bittersweet emotion. πŸ™‚

    • I took the picture and felt a lot of sadness as I was doing it. Even now, I will remember him and feel happy he let me photograph him but, at the same time, I always wonder if he has eaten or gotten a good night’s sleep. At a certain level, I think we are all interconnected. Hence, our natural responses of empathy.

      Thank you for sharing with me.

  4. This photo reminds me of a quote, let me share it here.

    “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
    Leo Buscagilia

    The world needs more people like you.

  5. This brought tears to my eyes. I have worked in nursing homes since 1994, and have seen with my own eyes people’s dignity so violated and abused. I have seen people who were well respected diminished to nothing but some ‘old crabby person’ with nothing but half of a tiny hospital room with a single bed and a nightstand. I have found these same people dead, and gave them post-mortem care..and I did so with dignity, because they so deserved it. I have looked into the empty eyes of death and have known in my heart wether it was peacful or not, their eternal rest. I have seen them stare out the window, alone, and seen all that was robbed from them, and gone, flash across their gloomy countance. Yes, I understand how important dignity is, and from so many people, it is stolen.

    • We are only here a short time. The job you are doing is making a difference. I wish i could give more of my time in the quality you are doing. πŸ™‚

      • Thank you Richert. I appreciate your kind words. I feel you are giving your time in a powerful, special way; this is God’s calling for you–to move people with real pictures of things in the world that provoke love, emotion, sympathy, compassion, humility and all of the things His precious Word tells us we are to be when we’re in His Spirit. We each have our callings on our lives, and your calling is just as important and special πŸ˜‰ God bless you, as your kindness has blessed me!