Do Not Enter
I recently had a conversation with my son about striving to see the positive in every situation. I told him that even if your car breaks down on the side of the highway, you can find solace in knowing that you at least have a car and maybe even the means to get the problem fixed. So often, we take for granted the blessings that we have and we forget that we could be so much worse off.
As I stood outside of a restaurant, waiting to go in and buy food and carrying at least 3 cameras in my pack, the contrast of my reality and that of the man just across the street in this scene struck me. Here was a man who, as best as I can tell, was either homeless or afflicted. I was inspired by the rich, basso resonance of his voice as he crooned Christmas carols for passers by and the persistence that he displayed as he sang the same 3 or 4 carols again and again. As the stranger faced the bright windows of the shop, the street sign peering around the corner and the street signs in front of the store seemed to bark out silent orders. It was almost as if the signs wanted to make sure that the man did not attempt entry into the shop. Of course, this is the narrative that played in my head as I surveyed the scene, but the reality of the situation wasn't too far off. Seemingly closed off from parts of the very environment in which he obviously played a part, the stranger found a positive in the chill air of the night. He could celebrate the season along side his fellow man and sometimes - just sometimes - he was rewarded for his efforts.
This image was captured on a particularly chilly evening on 35mm black and white negative film. I developed the film by hand, scanned the resulting negatives into digital format and made selective edits to clean it up and crop the frame to what you see here. You can view other photos similar to this in the Street Photography gallery.