Instragram competition: @friendsinperson
Dear friends, I feel the need to write a little bit about the story behind this photo, not only because it has been awarded but also because of the beautiful comments and especially by my friend @santiaguino which inspired my decision.
The capturing of this scene has been a shocking experience for me – both because of what preceded and what followed the decisive moment of pressing the button. 17 years have passed since I took this photograph but it is one of those images whose context you never forget.
That part of the city was not first line but I was close to the city center of Khan Yunis. These children had just finished school. I watched them heading towards me. I was tremendously impressed by their movements, the peaceful way they walked, the calm on their faces and their clothing, which was very different from most children in the area. Most children were being noisy, as kids usually are, but these were not. The way they were embraced radiated tenderness and sensitivity. With their heads bowed, you could feel the stochasticity that distinguished them, surprising for their age. It was impossible for me not to try to photograph them. When they passed in front of me, I brought the camera to my eye and followed them for at least two minutes. At some point they stopped walking and the boy, with an incredibly disarming and calm movement, turned his head and looked at me with a look you only see in mature people, tired by the burdens of life, as if telling me “Okay, you photographed me, now leave me, don’t follow me anymore, I want to reach my destination”. I respected it and I did just that. Clicking the button only once, not even twice, I lowered the camera and just stood and watched them walk away…