My brother Ramón.

Ramon calls me “hermano” because of our shared faith. I’ve told him some of my personal burdens, and he always has an encouraging word. Our family has strong connections, so when I caught him with the sun on his face as he waited for his grandson by the school gate, I knew he was genuinely glad to see me.

I’ve asked Ramón if I could take a portrait of him and his wife, but he is busy helping with grandchildren, so I may have to settle for this.

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Old man with cane/ Málaga, Spain

I was embarrassed to ask this man to take his picture. His face was half paralyzed as if from a stroke, but he was willing and even looked off to one side when I asked.

A few weeks later I returned with a print to give as thanks. This time a woman approached me and asked what I wanted. I told her I was returning a favor, asked if she was his wife. She replied “more or less”. I’m still trying to figure that one out.

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.

John, saddlemaker – Wamego, Kansas

The windows were grimy and the weathered boards hadn’t seen paint in decades.

I thought the place was deserted. The windows were grimy and the weathered boards hadn’t seen paint in decades. But the sign said it was open. Inside, saddles lined the wall and harnesses and bridles dangled from pegs. John was in the workshop in back. He was friendly enough, but I was from out of town. He had grown up in the trade, learning firsthand from his dad, and knew just about everyone in the area who had ever climbed up onto a saddle.

One of his ancestors had written about the local history in the mid 1800’s and John was hoping to get it in print. His roots ran long and deep in northeast Kansas. I was just passing through. I offered to send him a print, but he didn’t seem too interested.

Check out my gallery of interesting people here.