I travel a lot, often to obscure places off the beaten track. The camera is with me always, and whenever I can, I go for a walk, taking photos. 7 or 8 months ago, I visited a fishing village in The Philippines together with a couple of local colleagues, where I took photos of the boats and of some children playing. Some of the photos turned out well, and the next time we were in the area, I took some prints with me to hand out to the families, plus some food and snacks for the kids.
Today, I was in the area again, and since our work for this trip was finished, we headed down to the same village to take more snaps of people and boats. While we were there, a mother came to us with a paper in her hand, a paper that was the photo of her daughter that I had given to them 5 months ago. She wanted to show me what her daughter had written on the back of her photo. Here it is:
Taking photos is a passion that adds truckloads of value to my life. Giving prints to unsuspecting "victims" ads a lot to the experience, but a written response like this totally tips me over. It shows how little is needed to brighten the life for a few moments for people who don't have access to the luxuries that many of us take for granted. Making that extra trip might take an hour or two, but for those at the receiving end, it has much more lasting value.
So remember this: Make a print. Give it away to someone who doesn't expect to get anything. These are values that can't be measured in dollars or minutes. And they are forever.