[34/100 Strangers]: Leha

IMG_8902 LeahStrangerFLICKR

[34/100 Strangers]: Leha

This subject was noticed while sitting on top of a retaining wall next to a swing set array at the park. She was alone and looking at her phone screen. She was a petite woman in a blue shirt dress with fashionable ankle boots, sleeked back hair, and dramatic eye makeup. I could say she was striking, but of course, the picture lets you see that for yourself.

Meet Leha, 34/100 of my strangers. Her name was pronounced like “Leah.”

Leha is a single mother of three boys in various grades of elementary school. Leha was keeping an eye on the youngest of her children when I approached and asked if she would like to have her photograph taken for the 100 Strangers project. It amazed me that she was flattered and agreed. She asked if we ought to move somewhere else. I told her I wanted to disturb her as little as possible, to capture her as I first saw her.

We began to chat a bit and I learned that Leha is a nurse who works two jobs to support her family. I asked Leha if there was anything on her mind that she would share with our group and readers. I expected to hear about the struggles of single motherhood.

Instead, she said that she was thinking about her friend Bob, and doing that put a smile on her face. OK, I thought, here comes a romantic interest story to follow. Not this time.

Leha met Bob through his brother, who lives in ABQ. Bob, she told me, was in Costa Rica building a campus for girls aged 4 and older. He runs a program to educate and empower the girls and teach them to create sustainable futures for themselves and their families. Participants can earn scholarships to college. Leha has found a source of inspiration.

Leha said she is gratified knowing someone who is trying to make a difference in the lives of a handful of poor young women, all of whom will have a chance to transform their lives, and those of their families.

“With the right education, women can do anything.” Leha said.

His program is a non-profit and the link to his site is:


4 responses to “[34/100 Strangers]: Leha

    • Thank you for the comments about the story and photograph of Leha. There is one thing I have learned about street photography outdoors: easy it is *not* when one hopes to create a great (or even just really good) photograph, not merely a snapshot. It’s certainly a pleasant challenge to spend time with an attractive, photogenic subject for picture taking. We want very much to portray that person in the most flattering and appealing manner. It can take some effort to get it right and do justice to render the beauty that is seen outwardly and admired for what is within. When the photographer can’t control the variables (the light from the sun or lack of it; the ambient light, the subject movement and eye contact, etc.) but strives to get the best from it all, it’s not always easy. Also, it can require more takes to nail a final image of a person who is “easy on the eyes.” (R)


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