This is what photographers call an í¢â‚¬Å“environmental portraití¢â‚¬. Instead of showing a subject isolated against a white wall, it shows a person immersed in his normal surroundings. The idea is that you can see more of who a person really is, by seeing where he is and whatí¢â‚¬â„¢s around him there. In this case heí¢â‚¬â„¢s sitting by a native house in a poor neighborhood, surrounded by bamboo walls and sunlight.
He seems alive and vibrant. He may be poor, but heí¢â‚¬â„¢s got a certain sense of style í¢â‚¬“ the sunglasses, the stainless watch, the Nike emblem hanging around his neck, the earring; as though he wanted to stand out from his surroundings, to be noticed as someone special. With the afternoon sun streaking across him from the bamboo slats above his head ití¢â‚¬â„¢s a nice picture, well balanced.
As to the boy himself, I never knew him very well and heí¢â‚¬â„¢s dead now. He was just the friend of another friend of mine, somebody who passed by from time to time. He was fun to be around, always joking, sharing local gossip, having a beer or two. He had a reputation as a í¢â‚¬Å“chicks boyí¢â‚¬ and I guess it was true í¢â‚¬“ he would sometimes wave at me in passing from his motorcycleand there was always a pretty girl riding behind him, never the same girl twice.
Later on, he didní¢â‚¬â„¢t come around much any more but I still heard about him from time to time. I heard his parents fought him or each other, somebody called the police. I heard he was doing a lot of drugs, and then selling drugs. I heard he got involved in some minor hold-ups. I heard he got crazy laughing in a billiard room and started throwing billiard balls at everyone and got locked up overnight. But whenever he passed by, he always smiled and waved and seemed exactly the same as always.
Finally I heard he got some girl pregnant and married her and settled down. But he must have been a nuisance to some important people, because one quiet night while he was sitting by his house, the standard motorcycle death squad came out of the darkness, shot him three times through the heart, and drove away. Nobody seemed surprised.
Here he sits in this nice picture, looking full of life. And now that is all thatí¢â‚¬â„¢s left of him.