Photo of the Week: The smoking old man

Photo credit: Wedad Yassin
Date taken: July 13, 2012
Location: Old City, Jerusalem, West Bank, Palestine

An elderly man exhales smoke in the Old City of Jerusalem as a crowd of Muslims leave Al-Aqsa Mosque following Friday prayer.

Wedad’s photograph is heavy mostly because it is dense with contrast: there is black and there is white; there is struggle and there is relief. Here is a man who has watched his land slip from under his feet, puffing on a cigarette for artificial warmth to course through his veins and weave between his wrinkles. The smoke briefly masks his uprooted reality.

Luck plays a large role in capturing “the moment”, but so much skill is necessary to frame it so that it can tell a story you can visualize and understand. It could very well be that Wedad caught the man just as he lost himself in his own thoughts.

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