Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Conversation With Athena, September 18, 2010

There are times when this most limited form of communication breeds understanding. Such is tonight, when a young woman named Athena sends me a note regarding the above portrait.

In her message, she speaks of being inspired by the young Mursi girl, of seeing her as a female even before clicking on the tiny thumbnail, of seeing strength and beauty through her portrait. Finding new inspiration in her, she calls her 'mi Reina.'

We exchange a few messages, each one longer than the one prior.

She is humbled by the portraits, spends much time going through them. In her words:

'Thank you so much. Your kind words have filled my painful day with light and happiness... thank you again for considering working with me. It is truly an honor to stand beside them, knowing all our hardships and days of pain are not forgotten but which memories bring strength to shine through our gleaming eyes and bright faces.'

She responds beautifully to my desire to photograph her and to place her next to her new inspiration. Her humility, obvious through her words and through her immediate responses, is an example to be respected and admired. Instead of writing a few empty words in her responses, she shares a flourish of thoughts, of graceful comments.

Often times when responding to one's comments on ModelMayhem or elsewhere, a response from the sender fails to appear. For some reason, it seems to be more the rule than the exception. For gentle Althea, responding to my messages is as natural as responding to an old friend. She writes with a fluidity that comes with familiarity. The astonishing variable here is that we have just met.

She defines love for me.

She shares her trust without asking for anything in return. When asked for permission to use her words, she responds with 'yes you may.'

For a closer look at this marvelous young woman, click here and see for yourself.

In closing, she takes the time to send me a thank you as noted below:

'thank you. Zikomo kwambiri
thank you. Gracias
thank you. Yewo chomene
thank you. Barka
thank you. Dua Netjer en ek
thank you. Alla magah
thank you. Gaza yagabzal yushen
thank you. Danko
thank you. Imena
thank you. Tamemmirt
thank you. Kazaare
thank you. Mwebare
thank you. Asante sana
thank you. Nandee
thank you. Sabkaa
thank you. Dhanyawaatha
thank you. Abhari ahi
thank you. Galatoomii
thank you. Tampi asiq
thank you. Nitumezi
thank you. Rumba nandri
thank you. Nangreeih
thank you. Tamara krutagntha
thank you. Siyabonga

a million times thank you.
in all languages to all people.
thank you.'