STORY OF “THE LETTER”

homeless woman, human conditionThe place is Venice, California in the mid 1980’s. A sidelong glance revealed “Dear Mom” on the much read letter dated September 26, 1977. The gloved hand, the dirty coat and the shopping cart told me the story that I wanted to record in a photograph. As a son, I was captured and my heart was melted by the “Dear Mom.” Two quick shots and I was gone. Nothing was interrupted and no invasion of privacy as there was no intent. It was not until later in the darkroom that I was able to read the contents of the letter. Here are the fragments of the letter that are visible in the photo.

Dear Mom.

Thank you for your letter telling us where you are….Happy to learn you are well….although Gloria…me that you have a high blood pressure problem. That concerns us. I hope it’s not serious.

You know I was in Los Angel.…places looking for you. I….you in advance becau.…usually tentative….Los Angeles more….is base….weekend you arr….

Karen was….baby girl….She had….and she….defect.

Archie….corresp….in a pho….

Just last year in London, I was showing the photo to a friend and he asked where it was taken. I told him it was taken in Venice and he asked the specific location. I told him it was on the boardwalk in front of the Jewish Center. He was very surprised and said that coincidentally, he was building a house just a block away.

This entry was posted in Social Documentary/Street Photography, Street Photography Tips and tagged , , .

4 Comments

  1. fat-fiber complex June 14, 2014 at 3:32 am #

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  2. renee June 15, 2013 at 6:02 am #

    Thank You

  3. Jim Shaw June 15, 2013 at 12:37 am #

    Nice work John.

  4. Gary Thursby June 14, 2013 at 11:02 pm #

    There does not need to be any more proof of the power and magic of photography than this picture. True visual poetry. Well done John.

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