A photo a day – shoes

One photo that sticks in my mind was taken by Gerald Waller and published in Life Magazine entitled: A New Possession: A six-year-old orphan from Austria ecstatically embraces a brand-new pair of shoes just given to him by the Red Cross, 1946. If you search by typing in Gerald Waller new shoes here you will find lots of sites using it.

I think the image is powerful on lots of levels: the point of view looking up at the child elevates, the framing isolates, both juxtapose the old and the new shoes, and of the course there is the boy’s ecstatic expression. While my image is of the same core subject matter its very different in approach.


This photo presents my shoes but also conveys quite a lot of information about me. There are both formal and casual shoes. But THE one thing that jumps out at me is the fact that even though the shoes are clearly worn by the marks and scuffs on their uppers their soles and heels show no sign of wear. This is of course, because I don’t stand or walk at all but use a wheelchair and car for mobility. Accordingly the narrative of this photo is, from my point of view, one of difference and similarity and nothing to do with individuality such as that photo of the little Austrian boy.

But would a non disabled person pick up on the disability narrative in the photo? I don’t think so without some text anchoring it. This issues was picked up in a rather thought provoking way by two colleagues on Flickr here.


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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