At work I am still on this project of photographing all our residents. It's amazing to see that on average most of these gentlemen and a few women , when they are told that I am passing by at the appointed hour, really go to town getting ready. I guess on one hand when they don't have too many visitors, the idea that someone is coming to take their photo seems to be a huge motivator. One gentleman today insisted on shaving, getting dressed,( suit ,tie and proudly display his WWII medals). I didn't have the heart to tell him it was a head shot only and that his medals wouldn't be seen. It did however start a conversation, of the battles he'd been in and where he got his medals. After all his hard work in getting ready I felt compelled to at least share some time and conversation with him and thank him personally for his efforts.
On the other end of the spectrum there was a gentleman today that didn't want his picture taken. Categorically he was not having anything to do with it. You see, he was a good looking man in his youth, quite the ladies man apparently also. Time unfortunately , skin cancer, and a stroke have robbed him of his looks. The person he sees in the mirror doesn't reflect or jive with what he sees when he closes his eyes I imagine.
His words to me were :"J'ai l'air d'une citrouille"-he feels like he looks like a Halloween pumpkin. I managed to get him to sit and take his picture regardless. Deep in his eyes you could the strained confidence that was once there and that was conveyed in his portrait.
How many of us feel that disassociation when we look in the mirror ?
Separation of mind and soul, together and separate at the same time. Not easy at the best of times, harder still when you feel like you're marking time like this gentlemen. Afterwards I showed him the picture and mentioned that we will redo it in two years, his reply, was well, I won't be here, so at least there's that.