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Photo Friday, No. 177

December 18th, 2009 (03:35 pm)

Current Photo Friday theme: Best of 2009

Note about this photo: I haven't previously published the photo that I thought was my best one in 2009. I took it in Galveston in August. I was just trying to get the contrast of the child's dark skin and clothes against the bright sky, and I had to photograph her fast because she never stopped moving.

It was only after I uploaded the photo that I saw the bit of graffiti I'd inadvertently captured on the lower right of the photo. I found it so disturbing in the context of photographing a child that I was reluctant to share it (even though I thought it made a powerful image). For me, not much is more soul-numbing than the death of a child from disease, injury, or violence. The United Nations made the decrease in mortality rates for children under age five one of their Millennium Development Goals. It goes without saying that poverty and HIV/AIDS have an enormous impact on this fragile population.

The reason I decided to share the photo after all is because of a report in September showing that as of 2008, global child mortality rates are continuing to decline. I was particularly moved by a quote from Caryl Stern, President and CEO, U.S. Fund for UNICEF:

"Statistics tend to be clinical and antiseptic, however the practical, real world implications of this development cannot be ignored. These new numbers illustrate that 1,500 more kids a day are waking up to see the sunrise, play with their friends and make their mothers smile."

That's a "best of" worth sharing.

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