Meeting Jan was a moving experience. I met her at Be A Villen! The show was a collection of artwork made by students, to help them cope with loss. The exhibit was in part in memory of Brian Liberatore.
She said she had been to too many funerals. Funerals for young people. I didn't realize there was so much tragedy among the youth in Somerville. When I asked her what was on her mind, her words opened a floodgate to her thoughts, from violence and art, to gentrification in her neighborhood. Tears occasionally welled up in her eyes.
I feel like so much of what we do as photojournalists is listen. Sometimes it just takes asking the right questions for people to share something with you...
On a side note, she mentioned she had been photographed by Amy Arbus, daughter of renown photographer Diane Arbus over 25 years ago. She's on page 37 of Arbus' book On the Street. I'll let her tell you in her own words. Read the review entitled "I'm page 37!"
The beauty of the story is that almost 25 years later after meeting on the street the two met again in Boston. Apparently Arbus had been looking for Jan. So, I had to go to the library and see the picture. You should too.