Thursday, August 20, 2009

Boy, Pigeons, Lebanon, 2009

He walks over with two pigeons, asks for his picture to be made. His two sisters watch while we take a minute to do so, even though it's the girls' turn to be photographed. He has come all this way with two pigeons after all. Later on in the week, he seems to have changed. Instead of holding pigeons, he is holding stones. For some reason, a reason that nobody seems to want to tell me, he is raising his voice and telling me to leave. The older boys take his words less seriously and tell me to continue with my work, even though we're doing it in front of his family's tent.

It's times like these when decisions are hard to come by. Do I listen to the local people, continue with my work and consider his words as they do? Or do I pack up and move on?

After we finish, we sit down for the usual three cups of tea. Tonight they inform me that it is considered rude to stop at one cup, two cups of tea being the minimum. The young boy is still lingering, since we are being served tea in front of his family's home. He is visibly upset.

After the tea, a few others want their pictures made and, while the sun is almost set, there is still some light behind the tent next to the tall grasses. We have some fun and make some spontaneous portraits. As we walk back and toward the street, I see him sitting down, with his face still upset.

I take a chance, kneel down and talk directly to him. I tell him to forgive me for upsetting him, to be happy with the photography and to let me make his picture. To my surprise, this smallest of attention makes him blush, smile and get up for his picture. His sisters laugh and it all ends well.

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