Photo and Commentary by Catherine Martini
This scene depicts a photograph of Bruce, also known as “Big Red” because of his tall stature and flaming red hair, who walked the streets of Beverly for many years, smoking his cigars and courteously greeting the people whom he passed. Though clearly a mortal man (he is now dead), the photo allows Bruce to live on in the minds and hearts of those who pass “Too Fast Photo” on Cabot Street. The American Flag at his side reminds us that we, as individuals, who comprise our towns and cities, and in turn our country, have a lasting effect on the spirit, not only of those around us but also of the nation as a whole. Thus every life is important and should be valued in its capacity to mold the world. Beverly will forever be comprised of diverse groups of people, from the homeless and downtrodden to the independently wealthy. Countries and governments are necessary to keep the stronger from pillaging the weaker and to keep some semblance of order in large masses of people, a feat that is extremely difficult, and to strive to honor (ideally) the needs of the people in society. There is a church reflected in the window because all people, both rich and poor, homeless or financially secure, often reach a time in their lives where they need to believe that life on earth is not the end, that their hopeless or painful situations will not be the culminations of their experience. Religion is immortal because without some explanation for life, we as human beings could find no purpose for our actions. Cabot Street and several cars are also reflected in the window because, as citizens of Beverly, and as Americans, we cannot overlook the profound effects of the past two centuries’ technological advancements. Thanks to breakthroughs in transportation, electricity, medicine and science, many American citizens and people throughout the world, are arguably able to lead more comfortable lives, and perhaps find more time to pursue their passions. Therefore the cars represent industry and progress, which is immortal. The church, representing religion, and the flag, representing united community, keep humanity together as best they can. Did Bruce have an opportunity to better his condition? Was social mobility possible in his life? Perhaps he was content to walk the street and greet passing faces. The image illustrates the intersection between the common man, his effect upon those around him, and thus, on his city and his country, and the eerie continuity of progress, government and religion as they travel with humanity throughout the ages. Finally, the afternoon sun casts my shadow across the sidewalk as a reminder that no one is exempt from the blessings and curses of human society. Indeed, all who are born must participate, though we know neither the rules and objectives, nor the end purpose of the game. We are all lost in our own speculations as to what really matters. This picture reminds us that all humans, whether they be kind homeless men who smoke cigars on street corners, or the overly “successful”, honored with recognition for their efforts, begin life in the womb and end it in the grave.