Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thematic Photographic 49 - Human

Someone to watch over me
Toronto, ON, March 2009 [Click to enlarge]

The scene: A bitterly cold late-winter's morning, a stone's throw from the very center of the country's largest, most influential and, yes, most profitable businesses. The wind whips around the downtown skyscrapers, making a miserable day even more so. It's bad enough when you're well dressed, well fed and you know you've got a home to return to.

As I approach this unfortunate soul, I see commuters avert their eyes from the shapeless form. He struggles with the wind, trying to keep it from blowing his makeshift home away. Just when I think he's all alone, a caring soul stops and leans in to chat. She smiles warmly, looks him directly in the eyes, and speaks to him as a human being, not someone to be ignored and forgotten.

I quietly hope that a stranger's warmth is enough to at least temporarily offset the intense cold - from Mother Nature as well as his fellow humans - that seems to define his life.

Your turn: This photo kicks off our new Thematic Photographic theme, human. What kind of pictures can you share over the next seven days? Well, as long as they have something to do with people, pretty much anything. They can be happy, sad, thought provoking, silly or anything in between. I hope this week's theme encourages you to explore the people side of your photography. If you're new to TP, here's the lowdown:
  • Every Wednesday evening, at precisely 7 o'clock Eastern, I post a new Thematic Photographic entry.
  • Each entry has a unique theme. This week's is...human!
  • You post a similarly themed image over on your blog.
  • You paste a link to your entry in a comment here.
  • If you've already posted something that fits (on a blog, Facebook, MySpace, wherever) simply post the link to the existing entry. Old or new, all photos are welcome.
  • You may post as many photos or links as you wish. For the next week, I'll be supporting this theme with a related picture/posting each day. I encourage you to do the same. This is all about sharing, so feel free to share to your heart's content!
  • Please share this link with friends, too, and encourage them to join in. The more, the merrier.
  • And please accept my thanks for your enthusiasm. Your participation has made TP a true highlight for me each and every week.


Anonymous said...

This made me cry. I cried because he shouldn't have to live this way.

NJ said...

That is definitely a scene you don't often see. My daughter lived in the area of Shuter and Sherbourne in Toronto for a year. There were many homeless in that area. One day as we were getting out of our car and Hayley was putting money in the meter just after dinner I saw Hayley talking with a friendly looking older black woman. The lady turned and smiled and asked if Hayley was my daugther and then proceeded to tell me that she usually eats supper at the church everynight but that night she was late and she hadn't eaten all day. She asked for 1.75, the amount she needed to purchase a chicken dinner across the street at the convenience store. I gave her a few dollars. I couldn't help but wonder what her situation was as she did not seem drug addicted as many do. I truly hope it was a temporary situation because she seemed very nice.

bobbie said...

Your photo is very moving. I can think of none that better illustrates this week's theme.

Jason Mayoff said...

Funny. I just shot what might have been
a homeless guy today. He looks kind of angry.

invisible said...

Your twitter comment says you have been surreptitously shooting homeless people this week.
Well,thats hardly sporting is it?
I mean the homeless usually don't eat very well, and can't run and dodge the incoming fire. Also using a silencer seems to be cheating.
Myself, I prefer U.W.O. students. They are agile and alert, so it is a bit more challenging. They are also obnoxious and spoiled, so it is a bit like the culling of humanity. Cruel but sometimes needed.

Your readers are welcome to visit @
to read more observatios about humans.
P.S. No collection of human photography is complete without a picture of a can of Spam. It has been used to wean cannibals as its salty pork flavour most approximates that of human.


awareness said...

Bravo!!!!! Such a poignant photo, Carmi. The expression on the woman's face is so kind.
So many humans are living like this in a country where it doesn't have to be a reality. When you capture and share a photo like this, it makes it so much more real....and hopefully wakes up a few who don't seem to see these people languishing in their own communities.

And can I just add that some of my most interesting conversations have been with folks who live hand to mouth on the streets of this city?

ps. Did you follow the story about the homeless guy in Winnepeg who became a hero for saving the life of a drowning victim? It was amazing!

here's mine...

Mark and Patty of Crystal Pyramid Productions in San Diego said...

Your post has inspired me to share my blog about David "The Water Man" Ross, aka "Ghandi of the Ghetto." It's an older blog, but the story bears repeating, and is consistent with the theme you first presented, humans who are homeless. The photo shown is David with an unknown homeless woman whose body was found behind a dumpster two weeks after I took this photograph.

Mojo said...

The kindness of strangers. Somehow I still believe in it, and it's because of scenes like this one where I see the evidence. If only there were a preponderance of evidence, how many problems could be solved by such a simple gesture.

My opening isn't nearly so poignant. And frankly this theme is going to be a real challenge, since I'm not big on shooting people. But I've got one that fits... that's a start.
Thematic Photographic 49: "Human" v.1.0

Martha said...

::sigh:: How sad. That's the kind of thing that came to mind when I saw your theme for this week. It's terrible that anyone has to be in that situation.

Wendy said...

A very touching post. And I also love the expression on that young woman's face. She is genuine.
I feel sorry for the poor man on the street. Winter in the country is brutal.

Cloudia said...

Why do we not have truly safe havens where humans may rest in peace? Aloha?

srp said...

What a kind act.. she must be quite the special woman. This is really a touching picture and I am excited to see all your different takes on humanity this week.

Mine is here.

Glennis said...

What an amazing photo. And thank you for such a challenging theme.This is a tough one to do proper justice to.

Catherine said...

I believe there are homeless people in New Zealand, but we don't really see them on the streets quite as openly as that. It was very touching to see the young woman chatting with him in such a friendly manner.

I don't have many people photos, but I found these artists at work in my collection.

Carina said...

I sat and looked at your photo for quite a while. It definitely started my day a little differently.

Martha@A Sense of Humor is Essential said...

Visiting from Martha from FL's blog. Great picture, it will stay w/me for a long time. Thank you.

Here is mine, best to you and yours, Martha from Los Angeles

spiCes said...

unfortunate as it may seem, still there's hope..just looking at that photo. i'm keeping it light on my entry.

cakesANDladders said...

while we're at far can we go in posting photos of people we don't know?

hahamommy said...

Oh Carmi <3 Big hugs to you this week's theme; after a week with my famn damily at Gramma Bunnie's funeral, this is exactly how I need to tell the story. Thanks, once again :D
~diana at

momemts in time said...

Hi Carmi

An interesting picture, 'the observer observed'... compassion, friendliness, humanity.

I remember a series a fellow student made on the places where homeless people slept defined by the cigarette ends in doorways, bottles, sleeping bags etc but no people. As a society homeless people are not there, they are moved on, they are somewhere else, someone elses problem...

Here are my images, since there are a few and I have put links some links to earlier entries I have posted previously

momemts in time said...

Hi Carmi ~ Human 2

I have also posted three images today which are a more lighthearted look at the human condition

Lulda Casadaga said...

Wow...this is such a contrast from the doggie pic! Very moving and that lovely lady stopping to talk and recognize this man is very humane!

Ok, now I have to really search my don't make it easy for us do you Carmi!! :D

Mamie said...

The photo of the homeless man and the woman is incredible. What a way to get us thinking about the theme.

I have a few up here.

Jama said...

This is so touching!
Here's mine, involving someone from an old folk home.

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

Very touching.

I'm in a bit of a rush (as my post will explain), but I'll come and see everyone elses posts over the weekend. care.

bobbie said...

My contribution is up now. But I still think this one of yours has to top them all.

Glennis said...

I love this theme, and the photos you all took. It makes me realize that I seldom take pictures of people - whether through some heightened sensitivity not to invade people's privacy, or maybe a reluctance to ""connect" rather than observe.

I always love this meme, because you make me review my collection and realize what I have omitted.

Chad Oneil Myers said...

A "good samaritan". Great moment captured, Carmi.

Catherine said...

Here's another contribution, where I tried to illustrate human emotions without any people in the photo

MamaCta! said...

Carmi, I love your photos because they are so real, just like this one.

One of the things that I love and admire about my husband is the way he shows kindness to everyone he meets. People that I often turn away from and avert my eyes from, he sees them, and speaks to them, and is so kind, just like the woman in your picture. I want to be more like him because I see how by blessing others, he is so blessed.

Ok, I wanted to jump into this one this week. Here is my interpretation:

bARE-eYED sUN said...

Thematic Photographic 49 - Human: Fresh Direct

following an era of unrestricted greed,
the aftermath is always HUMAN


PastormacsAnn said...

"If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."
-William Penn

She seized the moment & you've captured it. Amazing.

My Human Photo

Sweetly said...

She looks like she might know him. I wonder. Great photo anyway, Carmi.

here is my human photo for your challenge. My brother. said...

I struggled with this theme.

Here is Mine said...

I couldn't resist this either.


Anonymous said...

I love the kindness of that person - I have my doubts that I would do that.

Here's my contribution to 'humna'


Jenny @ Another Jennifer Speaks said...

aww she was nice to stop and talk to him.