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Monday, August 13, 2012

Strangers in Your Life

I once had a good friend named John who was genuinely interested in the people he met in his day to day life. John could stop to grab a coke and within ten minutes knew where the clerk was from, what his aspirations were, what his parents did, if he had pets or a girlfriend, etc. John is just a personable guy, and while I don't get to see him often these days, I remember his willingness to talk to strangers, which is something sorely lacking in our society today. Recently I decided to take John's approach and open myself up to the people I met. My dry cleaner is a sweet older man who is quick with a smile or a joke. He is a proud man, though as an immigrant, used to staying quiet and reserved. As a young man, he married his sweetheart and, as most husbands do, promised his new wife a better life. Growing up in Jerusalem, he was like many young boys, he had an interest in sports and photography, keeping a darkroom behind a blanket wall in the bedroom he shared with his younger brother. But as a married man, he decided to leave the life he knew behind and come to America, where he settled in Covina, CA and opened up a Dry Cleaners. Thirty-five years later, his business is still in the same location and he and his wife, Abla still operate it, working every day from 8:30am until 5:30pm. They have spent their lives doing our dirty laundry and have raised a family with three children, all of whom presumably have a better life than the one their parents were brave enough to leave behind. When I asked if I could photograph them they were at first shy, but then Ghassan whipped out his comb to be sure his hair was perfect. Abla, who is fairly obsessed with celebrities, was very excited. The two haven't had a photo together in over twenty years. If you need a dry cleaner, stop in and say hello to these two beautiful peaople at Society Cleaners. webIMG_8459 11x14 webIMG_8451 8x10 webIMG_8460 8x10 webIMG_8449 webIMG_8467 8x10 webIMG_8463 end

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