Sampaguita Boys

Posted: April 7, 2009 in All and Sundry, commentary, photography
Photo by Jean Claire Dy

Photo by Jean Claire Dy

I met these street kids selling sampaguita outside Cafe Firenzo at Quirino St. last Sunday night. They were constantly bugging me to give them my Tiramisu, my Coke Zero, my water, among others. And of course, when they saw my camera, they wanted me to take their pictures. I had mixed emotions and opinions on this particular experience. The oldest of the three in this picture (2nd in row) kept insisting for them to pose in a certain way.

“People have taken pictures of me here so many times. Yes, so many times,” he would say as he tried to arrange his friends’ poses. “I’ve lost count. I guess you can say I’m a pro.”

What struck me about these kids’ faces is that even though they are smiling, their eyes don’t, rather, they speak of different things. I wanted to capture this dissonance, so to speak, but I felt a mix of weird emotions about taking pictures of them, like I am taking away their souls and capturing them in some box. At the same time, I also felt like I was doing them a favor because they begged for me to take their pictures. It is a complex kind of issue, really.  But in the end, I realized that these pictures are mine, my memories, my own glimpses of the world, my own stories to tell.

If you’re interested, take a look at the other pictures over at my new Flickr account: adamsreef. (When I deleted my old Yahoo account, I forgot that it was connected to my old Flickr, so now, I couldn’t log on to my old Flickr account. I created a new one instead.)

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