The Eye of the Beholder

Ho Chi Minh City Vendor

I often wonder what people see when they look at a street photo.  It seems only logical that everyone sees each photo differently.  I suppose that some look at this photo and they see a two dimensional monochromatic image and they are looking for balance, light, composition, points of interest, etc.  There may be some who are naturally inclined to look for background elements that may reveal additional secrets or intrigue like the guy in the upper right corner looking towards the vendor.  Some may only see the contrast between the shadows and the highlights.  There may be some who see the shadows on the sidewalk and the wall on the left side and wonder.

I see all of those things, especially the longer I look.  But I also, or maybe even primarily, see a hard working lady who is trying to eke out some kind of living by selling goods on the streets.  I imagine her home where she has boxes and bottles of these goods and she transfers them around to different containers.  I see her cooking and preparing snacks or treats and carefully balancing them on the shoulder polls before carrying the heavy load.  Perhaps she has a favorite place to market her goods, or perhaps she travels from place to place looking for available space and traffic that might be interested in her particular inventory.  I see her mind constantly assessing and calculating as she watches and waits for customers.  I see her balancing the need for profit and at the same time judging the prices the market will bear.  I see her knowing that today and tonight will be basically the same as yesterday and tomorrow and yet she plods on so that she and perhaps her family can eat and live for another day, one day at a time.   

I see people being people, living their lives . . . a moment in time or a reflection of a lifetime.

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