Lone Support

The night after the bombing a group of about 75 teenagers and college age kids marched to the Days Inn where, less than 24 hours before, a man strapped with explosives ran from the hotel after troubles with his bomb-laden vest and then detonated just outside the hotel.
The gathering was a strange mix of sadness, disbelief, newfound nationality, and eventually boredom. Some wrapped crisp new Jordanian flags around themselves and lit candles in a way that felt more like a societal ritual than a genuine connection with tragedy. There were jokes made and youth laughing with the quiet guilt of a child playing in a church.
Most of the youth I talked with spoke English perfectly. They took photographs of the site with their cell phones while others called friends to tell them where they were.
For me these gatherings are a confusing phenomenon. As a photographer, I often feel as though I’m the reason they light their candles, hold their new flags, write their slogans and play the role of the mourning. Wherever my camera faces, people perform. I can feel the change. As soon as I’m noticed it’s as if they are cued by a director to perform, and my job is to just continue filming while the actors go through their lines. So, I hide. I play the part of the disinterested observer until I can sneak a frame of reality.
In this image a young girl waits across the street from the hotel, possibly for a ride home. She stood alone on the dark sidewalk with the Jordanian flag in her arms. When I saw this it said so much to me about the complacency of those at the event. I waited with my back towards her until a passing car illuminated the scene. I turned and captured the only frame of the day closely resembling an unrehearsed reality.

Posted December 7th, 2005 in Uncategorized.

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