This shot is from Chicago. I’d rounded the corner of a church and saw this woman ahead of me just down the street a few paces. She sat on the lower steps of the church’s side entrance and all around her she’d piled green garbage bags filled with one thing or another–clothes, some newspapers. A homeless woman, I presumed by the look of it. She also, somehow, found or bought a bottle of crimson-red nail polish and she bent over her foot, smiling, painting her toenails. Content, it seemed, with that small moment of glory.
I crossed the street and took the shot. I didn’t want to disturb her or intrude on her moment. I cropped the photo and enlarged it so I could see her better, but even so, her act is hidden in mystery. Hope is kind of like that: often hidden in mystery.
I like this topic, hope. I write about it, speak about it, and, it seems, collect photos of it. After mulling over photos from my storage that somehow spoke to hope, I noticed something that interested me: all my hope photos were small moments: a smile, a pool of light, a small white flower on the edge of a canyon, a woman painting her toenails. Simple, small things. And at bottom, that’s what gives me hope: small moments, small gifts of light or love or friendship, making my lips curve into smile and my body breathe a deep breath. Hope.