It was the summer of 2018 in Atlanta, GA. To be exact it was Saturday, July 21st. Tourists from all over the country were visiting the Historical Martin Luther King Site. Local business owners and their patrons are moving about. The locals are sitting outside chatting and enjoying the day. It really was a lovely day. 

But as I walked, I could see from a distance a young lady that was no stranger to the neighborhood. She is homeless and dealing with addiction. Here I was with my camera in tow looking to take photographs of this beautiful city on this splendid afternoon. However, my camera was more drawn to this lady than to the landscape. I could not see the sun shining or the people enjoying their day anymore. Through my lens, I saw gray. I saw black and white. I saw distress. I saw sadness. I saw a facial expression that ran deep to her soul.

As I looked through my camera lens to take her picture, I never would have thought this photo would mean so much. I saw me. I saw hunger and addiction riddling my body to the point of deficiency. I saw life circumstances giving me no choice but to lower my expectations of how my hair looked or what I should wear that day. Those things just weren’t as important any longer. 

I wondered her thoughts at that moment. Was she wondering, when will this end? How did I get here? Did I deserve this life? Why is it never enough? Why does it hurt so bad? Why do these people not see me as I once saw myself?”

Honestly, I probably will never know what she was truly thinking at that moment. But I do know that I, and like many others are just one decision, one experience, one mistake away from walking in her place.

No Judgement” just the intrusive question of “why?”.

© 2018 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.

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