Tuesday, June 12, 2012


I arrived in Manhattan early, for the memorial dinner last Saturday. I was lucky in that there was a lovely small park just down the street from where I was going. So I sat on a bench and did some people-watching, which is always fun. I spotted this older man with his walker making his way through the park, and the younger man stopped to chat with him for 10 minutes or so. Obviously they knew each other. What I liked about this was that they were being neighborly - stopping to pass the time with each other. Just a small moment in the big city.


Anonymous said...

Everyone sees things differently. OK, I'm a cynic. Looking at this picture, I hear this conversation.
Younger Man: Do you have a dollar to spare? I left my wallet home and I can't get back on the subway.
Older Man: Oh, I'm sorry. I don't carry my wallet with me.
Younger Man: How about you give me a dollar or I'll take this walker away from you?
Older Man: (Puts his hand up to protect himself and to express shock.) No, please. I really don't have any money. Please leave me alone.
This is what I "hear" because the faces you captured on camera are not smiling; they look more intense than people who might be in a casual conversation.
Sitting on the bench watching them, maybe you heard them laugh together, or the younger man sounding sympathetic as the older man spilled his latest aches and pains. Maybe you saw the younger man gently pat the older man's arm as they departed. But, to me, that's not what your picture says happened between the two of them.

Ken Spencer said...

Anonymous: Thanks so much for your lengthy post. You may be right that the photograph I took doesn't show the nature of the relationship of these two people. I think you're right about that. I did go back and look at the other two frames, and there are not any smiles on those images either. But I did watch these two in the park for perhaps 5 minutes or so, before taking their picture and my sense from their body language was that it was a friendly conversation. And you certainly bring up a good point that photographers need to pay attention to - Just because we *think* we are showing something, doesn't mean we have succeeded. I should have continued to photograph longer, until I captured what I *thought* I saw. Thanks!