Forgotten Faces 9
Photograph - Fine Art Photography
For a three week period three years ago I spent most afternoons in front of a 7-11 in the city of Angeles, Philippines. The city is a popular tourist attraction, mainly for prostitution.
During that time I photographed the children that frequented the 7-11 collecting plastic and cans for money. Many of them were addicted to Rugby, a glue they sniff to escape their life on the streets.
Some of them had families, some did not. Most had little more that the clothes they are wearing. Somehow they continued to smile, to laugh, to play together. They were after all children.
They cared for each other, shared what little they had, and helped each other when needed.
The old man in the gallery was there everyday as well. He smiled at times, begged for food and looked for the same thing they all did, the same thing we all look for. Love.
I did not pay any of them, knowing money would either be spent to get drugs or given it to a parent who would not take care of them. I bought them food and drink when I photographed them. There was always a joy in all of us as they ate, they laughed and they loved.
For a brief moment they were happy. And then I would have to leave, to go back to an apartment where I lived with my wife and my toddler daughter. We lived week to week, sometimes now knowing how we would pay the bills or put food on the table the next week. But I knew I had more than the faces you see here.
I wanted to continue to photograph these children but honestly after three weeks I had become very depressed and emotional. I cried often knowing there was little I could do, probably nothing to change the fate life had dealt to these beautiful people.
I continue to pray for these faces and all suffering sentient beings.
February 26th, 2012
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