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  • Writer's picturePaul W Furmański

An old man hopes for kindness...

Updated: May 12, 2022

I was in Rome, enjoying one of my most loved pastimes of walking with my trusty Nikon while scanning the area for images that present themselves to us when we look, really look, at what is all around. Tourists pile in and out of the many beautiful historic buildings, some with guides, others on their own. A simply dressed old man stands perfectly still with an outstretched hat in his hand

I immediately saw the powerful image in my mind's eye and, as I approached, I considered all the common, uneasy objections to giving directly on a street, in a city. I walked past, gained distance, stopped and turned to watch the man, still statuesque as people walked past: tourists, workers, families, clergymen alike. I put a ten Euro note in my pocket, shot a salvo of frames and walked back.

It all happened so quickly; a slight smile on my face as his clear, humble eyes met mine. His hat grew in weight and value as he voiced an honest and appreciative "Grazie". The weight of being compelled lifted in me as I slipped away and rested in the valuable experience I knew I would relive when I came to work the images.

This, a gift, an image and a moment of life, shared with someone I'm privileged to have met so briefly.

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