These portraits were taken about a year and three months into Covid. I hadn’t shot anything, or anyone, for a long time when I went down-one sunny Saturday morning- to Cincinnati’s Findlay Market.

I did not look at these portraits for a long time.

I did very little work during Covid.

I was also certain that the little work I did accomplish was not good.

In retrospect, however, I like these portraits. These portraits move me.

I think these photographs demonstrate just how hungry we collectively were at that point in our lives.

Hungry for food, sunshine, for fresh air and to be out and about.

But more than anything, I think these photos document- in spite any obvious flaws on my part- just how hungry we were for connection and companionship in those awful days.

I drew these conclusions after looking into the eyes of those I photographed.

The gazes of those I shot that sunny March morning, seemed in some ways similar, universal.

For despite the diversity of dress, of skin color, and countless other differences, there seemed to be only one language spoken by each and every set of eyes that morning. There is a Romanian proverb which states, that  “The eyes have one language everywhere.” That day it seemed as if this proverb were true.

The eyes I met seemed to express a limited number of primitive, basic messages.  Messages shot through with yearning, with a desire to connect on some fundamental human level.

“Where words are restrained, the words often speak a great deal,” said the 18th century English writer Samuel Richardson.

Perhaps it is equally true that we sometimes speak most eloquently when we do not use words at all.

I once fell in love at first site with a women, without a word being spoken. I knew that I would spend the rest of my life with her. And so it came to pass. Even when, in subsequent decades, we were not together, we were not apart.

Some things simply are true and there is no need for explanation- at least through words.

For there are times when words are just too hard to come by, too hard to find, too precious to spend.

Some things we know without words.

Covid, during the worst of days was like that. The truth was obvious- res ipsa loquitar. Yet the words, true words, were hard to express.

There were those who attempted- for their own benefit- to bend the truth. To distract from that which was obvious- from what needed to be done.

The land at that time was awash in death and, inexplicably, in our time of need, also flooded in hatred and lies and ignorance as well.

Those vomiting propaganda and lies were full of language, but everyone with a soul and a brain saw, immediately, the artifice in those words.

Everyone with the courage of honesty  knew the truth.

I feel like words failed in those days, nor could images save us.

But maybe not- maybe it was just the integrity of some people, of many people that failed, and not the words or images of those days.

Undoubtedly, those I photographed on that sunny March morning knew, at least intuitively, what they were feeling, even if some, many, found it difficult to express- with any degree of accuracy- those feelings at the time.

No matter. The eyes of those I met on that day seemed to accurately speak volumes; in a language beyond words.

The Venerable Henepola Gunaratana, in Mindfulness in Plain English- a classic work on Vipassana Meditation- writes that:

As meditative mindfulness develops, your whole experience of life changes.  Your experience of being alive, the very sensation of being conscious, becomes lucid and precise….Descriptions and interpretations are chucked aside, and each moment of time is allowed to speak for itself.

I think these photos, to some small degree, portray good people, small moments, speaking for themselves.

Lost, I heard someone recently say, is just a place you’ve never been.

Maybe lost is also just a place you have to go to find some small degree of truth.

The great Western Philosopher Keith Richards once wrote that he was on his way to heaven because he’d done his time in hell.

Maybe found is just the other side of lost, the other side of hell, where the noise of frauds is silenced and each and every moment speaks for itself.

I’m not certain of this, but I am willing to roll the dice, to take the voyage, to search for that place.