As a security guard, it’s fair to assume Ponce sees a large amount of people in one given day and so figured the only way he would recognize me when I walked into the store he works in was if I held the 8x10 print of him close to my chest that I had promised I would bring back.
His facial expression alone portrayed how surprised and incredulous he was of my promise. A lot of times when I take candid portraits of people on street and they’ve actually noticed me, I offer to email them a copy but Ponce was adamant and unashamed to admit he knew nothing about working a computer let alone sending emails. All he carried with him in his pocket was a pre-paid cell phone that he loaded twice a month to keep in contact with his wife and love ones. Despite his decline to fully embrace technology other than his cell phone, Ponce was really pleased with this portrait I had taken of him, so wanted to make sure I took the time to come back and hand him something that was rightfully his in the first place.
I don’t recall ever doing anything like this before mostly because I rarely took the time to interact with my subjects in the past. I’ve always adhered to the conventional act of “shooting and moving” as most street photographers do but just recently have I started to stop and engage more with the people that have been thoughtful enough to listen to me.
I doubt Ponce will ever come across this short post online because he doesn’t own a computer but even if he did, I made sure to personally thank him for his time and sharing the comical stories of what it’s like living and working in Bushwick, Brooklyn.