10/07/2013 03:26 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

The Role of An Artist is to Not Look Away

"The Role of An Artist is to Not Look Away"-Akira Kurosawa


And I'll tell you what happened when I didn't look away. I mean, I wanted too because all I saw was "crack", but there was something more happening.

See, when I took the above picture my intention was to capture this guys crack showing and to crack a joke about it on instagram (classic, right?). But the more I looked at him through my iphone camera (while still trying to be discreet) the more fixated I became watching him look so "busy." "What in the world could he be so busy doing in the middle of the side walk?" I thought to myself while still snapping pics.

I put my phone away, stepped out of his view, and just continued to watch him.

I watched a man whose addiction to drugs had him stop his bike ride in the middle of a pedestrian zone to pull out his needle, spoon, and heroin.


He laid it out in front of him.

And he prepared to inject himself.

That is what I saw, because I didn't look away.

Because I didn't look away, I saw what might have been a moment that I was going to use another humans pain, for my amusement. I began to wonder where was his family and friends. Where were the people that love him? Who was he before he developed his addiction?

It's because I didn't look away I was reminded of the different battles we, us humans all have.

I was remind of how much of A MONSTER addiction is.

The role of an artist is to not look away, right? It is in the "looking away" that we miss life happening right in front of us. Imagine if we always payed attention, looked on, and captured every moment. There is grace in all the moments that make us uncomfortable. Just think of all that we are not seeing-good and bad- that is right in front of us.