María – Baker / Málaga, Spain

Manolo came into the store and María slipped him a couple of hard rolls. Then she scolded him for something he had said, just like a mother would. Manolo is a hoarder and he smells really bad. But María is really kind to him. She is kind to lots of people. Once she told me that there is more to life than money.

Pictures María took in places like Peru and Norway used to cover the walls, but slowly shots of her granddaughter Nebraska are edging them out – also Bruce Springsteen posters. Maybe when the economy gets better María will start traveling again. She told me she would like to visit India and maybe Canada.

Morning break / Junta de los Caminos, Málaga

Just outside Puerto de la Torre, where several roads come together, is a small group of houses and cafes. I parked my scooter, ordered a café con leche (un mitad doble in local speak) and sat down to enjoy the late morning air on the patio. These men didn’t arrive together, but seemed to be old friends, in no rush to get back to whatever was waiting for them. In Spain drinks are consumed slowly and sitting down, with plenty of conversation.

José Antonio – shoe repairman / Málaga

If he says they’ll be done by Thursday, they’ll be done. José Antonio runs a small shoe repair business in the Málaga suburb of Puerto de la Torre. I’ve often wondered how he can survive charging so little. He has a friendly smile and knows my name. That means a lot to me— that, and knowing my shoes will be ready when he promised.

Keith – Oklahoma farmer

I spent the morning with Keith riding around in his pickup truck checking on center-pivot irrigation systems in his soybean fields between Hydro and Weatherford Oklahoma. I like Keith. He is humble, kind and serves others. Years ago he did volunteer community service in Bolivia. Now he is a leader in the nearby country church, which really means doing things for other people. I hope this photograph honors Keith. He deserves it.

Hand on the shoulder

Between the Zagreb bus station and the main square I came up behind this sweet couple. She’s looking ahead and he’s looking down. He depends on her.

I know they’ve seen lots of change and turmoil in their lives. Have they always turned to each other for strength? Have their struggles brought them closer together? Do they share their deepest thoughts? On the other hand they might have  a silent dependency, just trying to read each other’s minds.

I often wonder how the people in my photos live and act and think.

Friends for life

I hope that fifty years from now these girls will be just like the women they just passed. What a gift to have a lifelong friend.

I snapped this shot just outside of Atocha Station in Madrid, and didn’t notice the women in the background until later.