When I stepped out of the National Gallery Museum, the sun was sliding down the cityscape. There was only a stripe of sunlight on the front wall of Martin Luther King Library, which is opposite the National Gallery Museum. I spotted a man with a hat sitting in the disappearing sunlight. I rushed towards him despite a heavy bag of books and my camera bag.
“Excuse me, sir…” I had to stop to breathe before I continued, “Have you … realized the light hitting your face is very dramatic? And your hat, oh your hat… Any way, do you mind if I take a few pictures of you?”
He was a little puzzled, but said, “sure! Do you want me to do anything? Hold may hand up?”
“No, thank you, sir. Just be yourself. That is the best,” I replied and I started snapping pictures with a fear that the light was flying away too fast. And I got closer and closer towards him.
“Wow! This is so cool! You make me feel so good!” The man said.
He then suggested I take pictures of his boots, which he was very proud of. “A friend of mine gave me these. They are made of some animal leather. I don’t like that, but my friend gave them to me.”
He asked me to show him a picture I took of him and found his boots were in the shadow. “I walk over there, so my boots can be seen,” he suggested and walked past the library gate to where there was a little more sunlight.
I followed him and continued to take his pictures. It was like racing with light. Soon the man lost his interest in my camera and began to tell me his story.
His name is Andrew John Brady. He came to DC from philadelphia last October to marry a woman.
“I am a homeless man. I came here on October 10 to marry a woman. Well, somehow we didn’t marry. But I just met another woman. She has a cute little baby. Very cute. I am going to marry her instead… You know, I have been homeless for ten years. I make a living by begging or looking for food from trash, but I never steal…I never steal, just beg. I beg. It is embarrassing. I am embarrassing my mother who died a long time ago…”
I thanked him for the pictures and for trusting me with his story. We shook hands and said goodbye. As I was about to enter the library, I heard him say “Happy New Year to you!” I turned around and said, “Happy new year to you, too. Take care.” I sincerely wish him a hopeful new year.
Below are snaps from the National Gallery Museum.
The last few images are from my everyday life.I try to look for pictures everywhere. It feels scary if I don’t take pictures for days. After I get up, I often look back to check if there is a picture in the bed sheet.
I found a dead leaf.
I got into my car and saw ice on the windshield.
And my book bag, a gift from my mentor Mr. Paul Moloney of Colorado. It says Fashion Institute. I put the books there this morning and saw those two words again and thought of my ugliest slippers, which Rex’s foster dog, Gracie, chewed…That could be fashion? Maybe? You never know how fashion goes, you know.