What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

How an everyday encounter inspired me as a photographer

Washington, D.C.-based portrait photographer Tia Thompson focuses her work on “black folks living their everyday lives,” she told the NewsHour. In this week’s edition of Parallax, she tell us the story behind the portrait above.

“You’re a king. Don’t let anyone tell you different,” Eddie told me as he shined my black boots. Eddie posted up on D.C.’s Georgia Avenue every Sunday, all summer, in front of a couple hipster bars, hoping people would get used to seeing him enough to let him stay and pay him to shine their boots.

Eddie is a U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam veteran, he said. He was living in transitional housing down the street. His business cards were old cards from other people with his information written on the back. The sincerity and openness in the way he engaged with folks walking by made me want to know more about him.

“I appreciate your business and you sitting here with me,” he said. “When people see you sitting here, they’ll know that I’m okay, and hopefully they’ll come up, too.”

The word “parallax” describes the camera error that occurs when an image looks different through a viewfinder than how it is recorded by a sensor; when one camera gives two perspectives. Parallax is a blog where photographers offer the unexpected sides and stories of their work. Tell us yours or share on Instagram at #PBSParallax.

The Latest