Bernard Page 3

    One of many an exercise in futility at the time. Good practice for a young photographer, anyway. Sweet people. Gorgeous island. Poor as the dirt under their feet.
    Like so many during those years he waded through in their crowds, mobbed into schools of shacks up the flanks of bald, tree-depleted hills and in the skanky laps of fetid valleys lining toxic streams. The remote millions, hungry, filthy, battered by shame and fear.
    A tiny head appears in profile near the prow of a boat, looking down intently into the inky water. Fishing? Gazing at his own reflection? Astonished.
    Who has seen the photographer's face?
   He glances at the camera he's carried around with him for decades~he calls it the kist, an old Scot's word he got from his grandmother for a box used to hold money, also meaning a coffin:

its corners rubbed down to the metal from his touch, now sitting a few feet away from him, primly, on its equally ancient tripod.
   He turns to another box.
   An executive in a blank white suit (the actual one a conservative midnight blue, no doubt) is being hustled by police toward a car. The man slouches in shame, hiding his face with his handcuffed hands. He looks panicky, crying. In the background a clutch of suits stand, sweltering, nervous.
   A few more of those faces went to jail, finally. In somebody else's time if not mine. Look like they're holding their necks, terrified of the cameras. Stealing their soul, catching them in the act. The photographer as truth teller, whistle-blower, voodoo priest, all wrapped up in one. To have been so lucky!