Fifth in the series of commissions for Develop at Home - a digital programme of articles, interviews and resources to help us stay connected, inspired and informed at this time of isolation - is Develop Ambassador Maksymilian Socha sharing a story behind his photograph Homer.
6am on Tuesday, when the majority of people out were commuting to work, me and my best friend were heading home after a night out. Having a long-lasting conversation, we ended up in a park next to where we grew up. As we were approaching the bus stop our chat got suddenly interrupted by a vagrant looking man.
“Do you have a spare cigarette?” he asked politely.
“Yes” we answered, with no hesitation.
“Oh, and a lighter, please” he asked again with a slight confusion in his voice.
Something felt different about that person. He wasn’t rushing at all, not like all the other people we could have observed around. He didn’t seem to be lost either. He lit up his cigarette and started to share his stories. From the way he approached us we felt like he needed to be listened to. He had a stream of interesting anecdotes but as the stories became more and more interesting he suddenly stopped. The tobacco reached the filter, he put out the cigarette and said he had to go. Just before he departed I quickly took out my camera and took a snap of him while he was waving goodbye.
He seemed a bit low before meeting us but appears happy and energetic in the photograph. Perhaps just five minutes of listening to someone can really change their day.
This photograph was taken last summer when I went back to my hometown Warsaw, Poland. I took this photograph with the intention of focusing on this exact moment. I find this picture important to me because it reminds me of the memories and lets me analyse how my brain is processing the events of the past. Memory is one of the things I would never take in my life for granted.
This photograph reminds me of the importance of human interaction and of all the stories that are circulating around the world, untold. Listening to those stories can change our attitude. I like the relevance to the subject of loneliness many people feel during the quarantine. It is not hard to help them.
- Maksymilian Socha