A few weeks ago, as I was waiting for the World War II-era landing ship LST 325 to sail by Rhodes Ferry Park, I noticed a woman walking along the path. It was early, around 7:30 in the morning, and the strong light coming from the east bounced off the water, making it look silver. I thought it would be a good image for our A2 page, where we publish a feature photograph of daily life in the Tennessee Valley. I took two frames; one was published on the following day. This is the other.
The woman turned out to be Evelyn Weisfeld. She told me she had moved to this area a few months before to live at Riverside Senior Living. She considered the park and the Tennessee River her backyard and she walked in it twice a day. We couldn’t talk much longer because at that point the LST 325 was approaching the bridge. I thought I had a decent picture, but nothing “to write home about,” as they say.
Two days after that, I went to Riverside on another assignment and ran into her. She told me she had bought twelve copies of the newspaper to mail them to her relatives all over the country. She said the photograph transmitted such a good sense of place that it would be the best way for them to know where she was living now. Then, the day after that, she sent me a card, which made me blush and whose text I’m copying here:
“Dear Jeronimo, I just sent to my friends and relatives all over the country a copy of the wonderful photograph you took of me walking by the river. Thank you so much for including me in your splendid repertory of Decatur sights that have appeared in the Decatur Daily. Sincerely, Evelyn Weisfeld.” Also, on that same day, I received an email from one of her Decatur relatives: “Your picture gave her great joy at a time when moving to the South was overwhelming at her age,” the message read.
One never really knows the impact a simple photograph can have on other people’s lives. What for me was just one more image of my daily work meant so much more for the person photographed. Thank you, Evelyn; thank you so much for reminding me that I need to think about this each time I take a picture.
About the series: Behind the Lens is a photo column that explores the thoughts and mechanics behind images of the community taken by Decatur Daily photojournalists. These photos resonate with the photographer, either through the story behind the shot or the image itself.
About the photographer: Jeronimo Nisa, who is originally from Spain, has been a photojournalist with The Decatur Daily since 2008. He earned a master’s degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He previously worked in Italy and South Africa.