pa·thos (pā’thŏs’, -thôs’) n.
- A quality, as of an experience or a work of art, that arouses feelings of pity, sympathy, tenderness, or sorrow.
- The feeling, as of sympathy or pity, so aroused.
There’s is nothing quite like the visual art of photography to evoke our emotions. I love that it’s an art form that is available to everyone. Most cannot paint, most cannot sculpt, most cannot draw, but everyone can point and shoot. With the advent of the nearly idiot-proof digital camera, even the most unskilled eye and wavering finger can inexpensively capture wonderful images.
I love taking pictures. My primary camera is a Nikon Coolpix S4. The lens swivels 170 degrees allowing me to easily get shots from all kinds of angles. Often my best pictures are ones that I did nothing to set up.
I took this picture during the summer of 2006. It was taken in Kansoka, Zambia. This was “foot washing day”. We had hundreds of orphans come to get loved on/hugged on/held/played with, as well as to get, in most cases, their very first pair of shoes and socks. This particular little girl had captured my attention throughout the day. I don’t know her story. I don’t even know her name. I never learned the stories of most of the thousand or so orphans we met that summer. But most of them shared at least part of the same story. In Zambia alone, more than three quarters of a million of them have been left alone in the world having lost one or both of their parents to malaria or AIDS. The “lucky” ones had older siblings to care for them. One 10-year-old we met was the oldest left in his household. He had become the man of his family and was now responsible for the care of his four little brothers and sisters.
Life has dealt this little princess a very hard blow. Life in sub-saharan Africa is difficult for most in the best of circumstances. To be a child, perhaps even a baby, and to be left parentless, makes an already difficult circumstance a precarious one. And yet many of their young faces still shine. They laugh and play just like children do. They are full of hope.
I look at her face and my heart is both completely broken, and yet paradoxically full.
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Next week’s Photo Friday topic is “Joy!”.