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  • While a picture is most definitely worth the words in the adage, the remaining question is still "which words". Sometimes the words scream off the page - like in Eddie Adams's famous "Saigon execution", and sometimes it is left to the viewer to imagine them - like in Steve McCurry's iconic photo of an Afghan girl taken in Peshawar, Pakistan. And while the results of good photography are just that, for the photographer often times there is an experience behind the photograph, an experience not captured in the image, that makes an ordinary picture very memorable. Unfortunately, the viewer never gets to experience that.

    This is the story of one such picture.

    In Kolkata (Calcutta), on the roads alongside the main hubbub, is a hospital run by Jack Pregger. Nothing pretentious, it is a dispensary of medicine for ailments of all kinds. On the sunny side of the road is the line that forms for triage and registration, and on the other side is the tent in which the doctors see the patients. Each Saturday the lines magically appear and are gone by evening.

    I decided to spend one Saturday photographing the people who visited.

    Looking at the faces in line I saw mostly sad faces. Faces that are either in pain or just simply tired. Mothers with children, old men huddled around, smoking, a line of people sitting on their haunches. And while I took many pictures, the one that sticks in my mind is the one shown here - a child sitting in the lap of his mother, eating a price of bread.

    I photographed them many times, trying to get different perspectives, bracketing the exposure, using black and white film, but always his eyes followed me. And when I was done, and got up to walk away, he reached out and offered me the rest of his bread!

    Overwhelmed, I was struck by the irony of his willingness to share - those who have the least to their name, are often the most willing to share!
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