I/Eye: On Photography

Annals of portraiture: Evelyn Hofer in Spain

Posted in portraits by Sheila Newbery on March 19, 2010
Shepherd in Spain by Evelyn Hofer

Shepherd in Spain by Evelyn Hofer

The portrait of the Shepherd was taken in Spain in 1962. I saw him there amid his sheep. I got out of the car and asked if he would mind if I took his picture. He said no; he was very pleased. But by the time I got my tripod set up and was ready, the sheep had run away. Then something very sad happened. I wanted to pay him. He said he would be very happy to accept a pesata or two, but “You’ll have to put it in my pocket,” he said. “I don’t have hands and I’m also blind.” Then he told me a story. “During the Civil War,” he said, I was right at this meadow and there”—he made a gesture with his head—“where the curve of the road goes, a bomb fell. It cut off my hands. Now I see very little.”     –Evelyn Hofer in Portrait: Theory (Lustrum Press; Kelly Wise, ed., 1981).

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