This morning’s walk, a cool and quiet morning. Two women dressed in mid-calf-length black dresses walked side by side up the sidewalk about forty feet in front of me as I was making my way home. One white haired, the other dark haired, hands held between them. Pretty sure it was a mother and daughter out for a morning constitutional.

My imagination was drawn, not unkindly, by the rhythm of their walk and the movement of their heads, to the crows’ stately parade from the other morning. 

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I’d been wandering through recent posts by my flickr.com contacts as I sat with my coffee. Some interesting photos of people surfaced this morning … they brought me back once more to thinking of Robert Frank’s The Americans. So much of these photos is all about gesture, the look with eyes or body from one to another, the context and situation of that look. 

Sunday afternoon … the last Sunday of August 2009 … I went to the Willow Glen neighborhood in San Jose . They’d had a street fair all day, an Italian Festival on the main drag through town. It was late in the day, things were winding down. 

A sense of witness, of distance-in-observation. I watched the sometimes random, sometimes not, interactions between people on the street as I walked around with my camera. This small boy and his father listened to the last moments of the band. Just a boy, tired, sitting his father’s lap, while his father watched the band. The expression of the boy’s arms and legs, the relaxed sense of strength and protection in dad’s hand. My shutter released almost before I was conscious of pointing the camera. I was there with a friend; we walked the length of the fair and back looking, making photos. We left as things closed down. 

The two women’s voices drifted quietly back to me as we reached my last cross street on the way home this morning. They turned right, I turned left. Across the street and down the increasing distance of the block, I stopped to watch them for a little while longer: they disappeared around the next bend, hands held still.

That intimacy of gesture. 
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