I took me awhile to decide whether I should post this photo up.
I snapped it back in January this year when I was lingering in Paris for a number of weeks, possibly on a painful but necessary fool’s errand. I had to do it in order to move on.
So, this is five months later.
The issue has always been about privacy. I faced a similar problem with a picture of a dancer in Sydney once. That problem was easily solved once I realized that it had public performance in the equation: when it is a public event, the question of privacy vanishes. And so, I posted up the photo of the dancer with clear conscience.
There was no performance in front of the Opera in Paris. The man was looking for a job if I understood the sign properly. Or he was begging. I did not ask his permission to shoot his picture.
Maybe, because his face is unseen or reasonably unidentifiable, that somehow affects his privacy less.
I hope so.
I want to up this picture up because I like it. I like that message that I see in it. That however is not enough to shut my conscience up. I am planning to sleep over it and then forget about it until some complication arises in the future. I will deal with it there and then.
Until then, here is what I like about the picture: the edifice provides a contrast to the man, and the man is alone with his cat. Somehow, there is something deep about that juxtaposition. Somehow, hundreds of years of history led to the suffering of this man. To the man, somehow, history does not matter. Ominously, only today matters.
There is something tragic about it all.