Timothy Manley Celebrates the Power of a Photograph
For a long time I've known the power that a photograph has to change the world in some small way.
Timothy Manley is celebrating the power of a photograph to change his world in a pretty major way.
I photographed Timothy in Chicago for the first time eight days ago.
He'd explained to me that he'd been living on the streets for sixteen months.
Timothy accepted my invitation to go have dinner that night and we walked and talked and ate together for over two hours.
We had an amazing conversation and we talked about so many things.
He was a fascinating man.
In those two hours I came to genuinely like the guy.
I also came to admire him.
I was impressed with his intellect, his positive attitude and his honesty.
'How in the world could a guy be dealt this hand and still have such a positive attitude' I wondered.
I kept asking myself how I'd handle the fate that this man had been dealt.
I know lots of people who'd be obliterated mentally and physically by the circumstances of Timothy's life... myself included.
Life isn't often fair.
There's rich people who don't deserve to be rich... and there's people without who deserve more.
I don't know where Timothy falls in on that scale.
Looking at Timothy Manley and talking with him for all that time I could only come to the conclusion that this guy's life could take a dramatic turn if he'd just come across an opportunity.
Timothy helped me at a tough point in my life.
He probably doesn't even know how much.
My attitude needed a real adjustment the night that I met him and Timothy was more than happy to help me do that.
It cost me about six bucks.
The price of a McDonalds Fillet O' Fish meal.
And it was worth so much more to me than that.
I was really grateful and appreciative of the conversation that we'd had and I wondered what I could do to help the guy out.
What was the extent of my ability to help out another human being going through some tough times?
God and the bank know I'm kinda short on the dough right now.
I have a skill at taking pictures of people.
And I can tell a good story.
With that, only a week ago I posted a picture of Timothy Manley that I'd taken while we talked in front of the place where he sleeps at night on the street in Chicago.
I also told the story of our meeting... I described the circumstances of Timothy's life and I painted a picture of the man that just about anyone could relate to.
And so many of you did.
I've gotten a bunch of flickrmails and comments... I was struck by how many of you were touched by Timothy's story and how many of you wanted to do something about it.... you wanted to help the guy out too.
A photograph can have power.
A photograph can change the world.
Ask Timothy Manley about the power of a photograph and he'll tell you just how much it might have changed his world.
I wrote that Timothy's reading glasses were broken and I posted a picture of him holding the broken glasses.
Last week someone who read the story brought him a new pair.
TImothy explained that four people came to visit him in the last week and mentioned reading his story here.
There were others... Timothy said they asked how he knew me... how he could access the internet...
More people tried to help him but couldn't find him on the street.
Tonight I have some good news.
I am so very happy to tell you that the break Timothy has been looking for has arrived.
Timothy Manley has a job interview on Tuesday.
It's for a very respectable job.
It's quite a good position and Timothy is really excited to have this opportunity.
He's a very grateful man.
It's his chance to get off the street and to live the life he's missed for sixteen months.
I feel really proud to have played a small part in a series of events in a man's life that might produce a positive and dramatic change in his world.
There are others who took action as well.
Your efforts to help a fellow human being in need fill me with hope, with warmth and with pride.
I don't need to know you... I don't need to put a face to the people who took action... that's completely unimportant to me.
What's important is that you read the words that I wrote and you saw the picture that I took and you decided to do something about it.
You took action and you did something.
Something that may have the most dramatic effect on the life of a human being named Timothy Manley.
You saw a person that needed some help and you helped them.
We're living in turmultuous times... so many of us are struggling... so many of us are hurting... so many of us are worried about what tommorow will bring... little of the news that we get is good...
What people have done for Timothy Manley is the best news that I've heard in a while.
Timothy and I had a good conversation tonight... he knows how lucky he is to have this opportunity... he knows that a door's been opened for him but he's gotta get himself through it... he knows what's riding on this and I think he will do the right things and respect the chance he's been given.
All of our hearts should be warmed by his tale.
My contribution to this effort was a photograph and a story.
Two things that are a passion of mine.
I'm proud to have contributed that.
I understand even more deeply now the power of a photograph.
I understand even more clearly now the power of words strung together to form a story.
It all comes from 'the power of real.'
The camera can be such a potent tool to change the world.
Just ask Timothy Manley.