Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hard Ground

    I picked my 6 year old son, Harry, up from school today and we went back to the house and spent time together lying side by side on the living room floor, looking at the photographs in Hard Ground. Neither of us said much; I would occasionally comment on the sadness in someone's eyes and he mostly just traced along the faces with his fingers. Michael O'Brien's photographs do what all great art does; they give us pause, they make us look, they help us see. The poetry of Tom Waits' enhances the experience by helping us to hear as well. He gives voice to the poor and homeless whose faces give us so much more.
    The gospel of Matthew states that people's hearts have become calloused; "...they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn...but blessed are your eyes because they see and your ears because they hear." And blessed are we for Tom Waits, Michael O'Brien, and every one of his subjects; for it is they who help us to see and to hear and to understand.

1 comment:

  1. I buy a lot of photo books and to be honest, I end up selling most of them. But some are just so special they are keepers. Hard Ground is a keeper. The black & white photography is wonderful, the poetry by Tom Waits is a great match for the photos and the brief stories about the people are heartbreaking. This book really makes you want to learn more about these people. This is the new face of America. Take a good long look, then ask yourself how far you are from being one of these people. Not as far as you think. Buy this book.
    I like this site :: Painting Sacramento Company