I took this portrait in early 2015 in Bhaktapur, just outside of Kathmandu, nepal. I feel very touched and also a bit sad when I see this picture. The sadness comes in part because it feels like the boy is slightly to the hardened side of innocence. We didn’t converse and I don’t remember him smiling during our interchange, but he did generously agree to pose for me. In return, I gave him the only piece of chocolate I had. In hindsight it feels like significantly insufficient compensation to pay to a person to stand in front of a stranger and pose in an unguarded manner.
I’ve been hesitant to return to Bhaktapur now that I’ve returned to Nepal after the large earthquakes. As can be seen here, much of this historic town is built from mortared bricks and I’m confident that it fared poorly. It makes me wonder about the extent to which many of the beautiful people whom I have photographed in this country have been significantly affected or harmed by the quake. What has this boy seen and experienced since we once met? Is he still around? In some ways, being a photographer is sometimes a blessing and sometimes a curse: On the positive side, I end up having heart touchingly. albeit short, intimate relationships with people which can remain with me through my entire lifetime. While the feeling of intimacy is engraved in the image and in a way in my heart, in practicality I am left with a large empty gap of disconnect where I am not in contact with people such as this boy whom I have somehow come to care for.
I do hope this boy and the people he loves are well. (Here’s the uncropped original)