Posts Tagged ‘people’

My portraits in progress series is evolving rather organically, especially in the presence of Robert Yearwood who was my first subject (see here). In a heartbeat, Bob will now say, “Cynthia, where’s your camera?  This is a great photo!” I usually agree.  Recently while at Trinity Church I was in his presence and that of Roberto Paredes. I asked Roberto if I might photograph him.  Bob readily agreed for them both.

We stepped outside and I took this photo. Later, as I downloaded it, a part of my brain still reeled from this week’s hate-speech gone viral on the internet and that being espoused on stage at the Republican Convention. As I looked at these two gentlemen, all I could think was, here are two examples of what makes America great right now.

They are kindness and compassion embodied. Originally from Lima, Peru, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Roberto for about seven years since he started working at Trinity. Like Bob he never hesitates to greet you or to make one feel welcome in his presence. He gives aid unasked and for that I am thankful. He’s taken many a heavy box from my hand even when I should have known better than to pick it up.

“He’s the best,” Bob said. “He’s a true friend.  You got that, Cynthia? Did you get it down on paper?”

Yes, sir, I did. 🙂

Previous portraits in progress

Monroe Chase

The Singing Man


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One of my mid-year photographic challenges is to photograph more people. Perhaps a post each Sunday? We’ll see … I begin with Robert Yearwood. At some point I may pair stories/brief interviews with these images. Given that Mr. Yearwood has been in this world since 1938, he has a lot of stories to tell. I first met him at Trinity Church.  I’ve learned a lot from him about patience, letting things go, and especially an idea that I have rephrased a bit — that all who enter a place, regardless of age, race, gender, or creed, the clothes upon their backs or the lack thereof, all shall be equally greeted. Whenever I want to be … not nice to someone … I try to remember that idea. 🙂

Robert Yearwood

Robert Yearwood

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“Of course, my dear.”  As he presented his hands to me – resting them on a book, waving them in the air, etc – he described the work he’d done with those hands over the years.  Keith is his name and he was subbing for a security guard at a local church.  We’d only known each other for less than an hour though when he first saw me his first words were, “Have we met before?”  While I’m horrible with names I’m pretty good with faces and his aged face did not look familiar.  But he did feel awfully comfortable to be around.  And so after hearing him speak for a few minutes with his beautifully accented voice I said, “Sir, when were you born?”  The people around me may have been appalled I asked that question, but he looked at me and laughed.  “1933, my dear.”  Then he took out his I.D. card with his birth date to prove it.

keith hands

For the short while that we were together he described growing up in Barbados,  then moving to England as a young man where he worked for Rover and his various adventures as a stellar mechanic.  He described his first wife and her untimely death that left him with three young children under the age of 10.  He made a decision to focus on the children and not remarry until they were grown.  And when they were grown he did remarry.  There was no question asked that did not produce beautiful, sometimes heartwrenching, stories of family, friends and work. I finally said, “Sir, you should record these stories.”  He chuckled and said, “I’ve lived these experiences.  Why do I need to record them?”

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This morning from the shelf I pulled the book Good Poems, selected and arranged by Garrison Keillor.  It is a wonderful compilation that I used to carry with me as I commuted for work and pleasure across Boston via the green line train.  I carried the book for its words but also for another reason.  Not only am I both calmed and inspired by poetic works, I love books of poetry because of the white space on the page.  This beautiful tome has plenty of white space.  With such space I needed only to pull a pen from my pocket to jot down errant thoughts.  To capture them to view later.  If I remembered.  Well, I’d forgotten the words written in the margins of this book nearly five years ago.  On this bright Sunday morning, I am glad I found them. — CS

August 29, 2007

His name is Herbie.  I remember that.  I’ve seen him all the years that I’ve lived up here, traveling through Copley Station.  A wee black man and his flute.  It has been awhile.  His hair has grown long and gray, and new lines etch his dark face.  His smile has not diminished.  He always says, “Hello, sweetie,” or sometimes, “darling.”  Though I place no money in his cup, his smile never fades.  His smile makes me smile, no matter what ills of the day.  He reminds me of simple pleasure.  Of greetings.


Her name I know not.  She told me once but I can’t remember.  She comes into Trinity on Fridays covered in cloth from head to foot like a Bedouin, except her robes are not blue but many-hued.  We both have a gap between our front teeth.  She says it is due to our British ancestry.  She likes my smile.  She says all of me, my whole being, smiles when I do.  I told her she gives me reason.

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