I knew I would find her every morning at the Armani Cafe. Last time I was in Milan (a few weeks ago), I brought her a large print of a photograph I had taken of her a few months before.

 

I found her sitting in this perfect light, as usual, having her morning espresso.

 

I said hello in my limited Italian and opened the envelope that contained the print and asked if I could take another photograph of her. She took a moment to look at the print, put it down and took what has become her familiar pose – a far off stare. Just as I finished shooting this frame, I stepped towards her to say thank you and a tear fell from her eye.

 

I don’t know if it was the emotion of the moment, or the morning sun in her eye, but it was a particularly touching moment for me. It reminds me how much a truthful, gentle image can move a person and how much it can mean to their sense of self and their feeling of being noticed in the world.

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68 comments

  1. Sarvolent

    February 3, 2015 at 9:18 am

    How lovely. She looks like a gentle soul who’s maybe not noticed very often. And I love her fur and all the rings!

    • WOWS

      February 3, 2015 at 2:03 pm

      Adorable!

      • mari

        February 15, 2015 at 9:24 am

        beautiful. i could look at this photo for hours. i will always come back to it.

    • Wayde

      February 4, 2015 at 5:37 am

      I agree; there is a quite grandeur about her. She has been photographed wearing luxury furs, piled on jewellery and multiple designer belts at the same time but her face tells a story away from the clothes she wears.

  2. Royal Wang

    February 3, 2015 at 9:30 am

    this shooting is more than style but something related to Humanism.

  3. Gap

    February 3, 2015 at 9:30 am

    She’s a milestone!
    I wonder what’s her story…
    XOX, Gap.
    http://www.gaptoothedgirl.com

  4. Chris

    February 3, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Very touching, the picture, your story with it, the woman. It all has a very delicate atmosfere, so authentic, real.
    Thanx for sharing.

    • Simone Fraser

      February 3, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      This comment was perfect; I can’t add much. I enjoy this photo more than the one from months ago. Did she have sunglasses on before? I’m glad to see her beautiful face here.
      A truly fine moment, of The Sartorialist.

  5. Judith A. Ross

    February 3, 2015 at 9:39 am

    She is beautiful and I think you made her feel that way .

  6. Stephanie

    February 3, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Wow. What a picture. I love her rings; they shine like beacons. Some older ladies stop wearing rings as they don’t want to draw attention to the wrinkles on their hands. F*** that. She looks grand. What personal expression and beauty.

  7. dario fattore

    February 3, 2015 at 10:25 am

    che donna di classe

    dario fattore – http://www.whosdaf.com

  8. Jacquelyn

    February 3, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I think its beautiful that you’ve formed this friendship with her. you said she speaks little English and you have limited Italian, but you’ve found a way to connect beyond the structure of words. it seems like a very strong connection that shows through your photos of her. you must make her feel very happy and I’m sure she does the same for you. I think this is one of the best ways I’ve seen people connect in a long time. Kudos.

  9. Vancouver Barbara

    February 3, 2015 at 10:40 am

    I’m glad you found her again.
    Please show us the photo you gave her.

  10. Liz

    February 3, 2015 at 10:45 am

    such a beautiful story — I would love to know what her life was like back in the day

    http://hashtagliz.com

  11. Jen Wilson

    February 3, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Beautiful.

  12. lifestyletalks.wordpress.com

    February 3, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I love the way you relate to people!

    For you, it’s not just about taking another photo, it’s also about the person behind the picture! So beautiful!

    We all should do this more often….give an ‘unknown’ person a feeling of warmth!

    • Wayde

      February 4, 2015 at 5:34 am

      I like that you mentioned the “person behind the picture”, for me I feel like she has an incredible story to tell. I’d really like to know so much more about her or even just her name. Scott has captured her consistently in the most beautiful light and stunning photographs, it intrigues me, I want to know more.
      I wonder if she understands the magnitude of what Scott has done, the “fame” she now has from being posted on this site. It’s all very mysterious and intriguing.

  13. From The World With Love

    February 3, 2015 at 11:08 am

    A great image , elegant and chic…has no age….
    xoxo
    Yael Guetta

    http://www.ftwwl.com

  14. Jean-Marie Detré

    February 3, 2015 at 11:12 am

    So true !!!!

  15. Julia

    February 3, 2015 at 11:16 am

    these eyes…they’re telling stories. beautiful shot!

  16. karikate emand

    February 3, 2015 at 11:57 am

    OMG I LOVE this post!

  17. kelsey

    February 3, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    ah how beautiful! this story warms my heart
    http://www.ladiesinnavy.com

  18. Doe

    February 3, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Beautiful post, both the story and the photo.

  19. Frippery Vintage

    February 3, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Are we going to learn more about her? I’m dying of curiosity!!

  20. Mme B.

    February 3, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    She is so nice to look at! Greetings.

  21. Natalie

    February 3, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    That’s wonderful. Keep doin what you’re doin, Scott!

  22. i.caprone

    February 3, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    have you ever photographed in or outside the opera houses of Italy, the epicenter of heart-felt performing arts?
    that is where so many like this woman, like my mother, like myself are found.
    wonder if it might prove fruitful for your work

  23. Carol

    February 3, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    You should do a book on her and the likes!

  24. Fashion Snag

    February 3, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Aww, what a sweet story!

  25. Lolaparker

    February 3, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Super chic !

  26. Biba

    February 3, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    C’est définitivement l’une de vos plus belles et plus touchantes photos. Loin de la mode et de ses falbalas et bien plus proche de l’être et def <>.
    Biba

  27. Fabio

    February 3, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Dear Scott, It’s so beautiful to see you growing so deeply. Please don’t stop. :)

  28. Jodi

    February 3, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    beautiful what a thoughtful gesture on your behalf – brought a tear to my eye as well.

  29. Gavina

    February 3, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    What a lovely story. The thought of creating joy in someone’s day is truly a gift . As one ages , it is easy to be forgotten, overlooked . You made a difference in one persons day , what could be better than that.
    Great job

  30. Eh

    February 3, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    She has such an interesting face – there’s story to be told. But will she share it? Keep photographing her- she is lovely to look at.

  31. CFA in Florida

    February 3, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    What a lovely honor you bestowed on a lovely lady! I have to admit that a tear welled up in my eyes. Thank you for sweetening my day!

  32. Taj

    February 3, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Touched by the tenderness of your connection with this woman. Such poignancy and depth is conveyed in this portrait.

  33. Milex

    February 3, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    Love to death.

  34. Oonagh

    February 3, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    I’m sure she was touched by your thoughtfulness. That was a very kind thing to do.

  35. Lesblant

    February 3, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    Maybe she didn’t like seeing herself. Maybe she never looks in the mirror. Maybe she has few people… Maybe you shattered her illusion. Why do you photograph her? No woman wants her wrinkles memorialized. If you must gawk, HIDE YOURSELF and certainly don’t show HER.

    What is wrong with you? I know. You’re a young man. You can’t fathom the depths of an old woman. You wouldn’t know!

    • une chatte grise

      February 5, 2015 at 3:31 am

      Why on earth would you assume that she, or any woman, is so neurotic and fixated on meeting dominant-cultural beauty standards that she’d weep and not want to be looked at or photographed just because she’s aged? (And yes, I am old enough that age and living are showing on my face…)

      • Wendy

        February 5, 2015 at 8:23 pm

        Maybe time has treated you kindly

  36. Jules

    February 3, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    My heart gave an extra flutter and settled deeper after this photograph and recounting.

  37. lynne

    February 4, 2015 at 12:38 am

    loved this post. the story and the photograph. thanks.
    the amazing grace of kindness to strangers….

  38. linda Wright

    February 4, 2015 at 1:20 am

    Like so many other loyal followers, Scott, I am very happy to see this mysterious woman again. Thanks to you we have all fallen in love with your story……your sensitivity toward this intriguing and “hors categorie” beauty of a woman. In my eyes, she is faultless in her own courage at letting herself be photographed so closely by you. It is obvious that you make her feel special……….again and again. I do not think that tear was the morning light. I think it was the light you shed on her. Thank you for your sensitivity.

  39. Isa

    February 4, 2015 at 1:21 am

    She’s just cute !
    http://laparentheseenchantee.fr/

  40. linda Wright

    February 4, 2015 at 2:28 am

    It was not the light of the morning sun that made her cry. That tear was because of the light you shed on her. She so deserves it. Thank you for that, Scott.

  41. Steffi

    February 4, 2015 at 3:21 am

    She radiates what only life experience can. A kind of wisdom and grace…

    Greetz, Steffi

    http://www.redseconals.com

  42. Wendy

    February 4, 2015 at 3:33 am

    Being an older woman myself I wonder if the tear came from seeing her faded beauty ….

  43. Princessej

    February 4, 2015 at 3:38 am

    Nice story ! I’m glad to see that you’re starting to get this whole European life vibe…

  44. M.

    February 4, 2015 at 3:48 am

    You are very well brought up. I see so many photographers in Venice who just take and take and never give. They ruin so much. It is for this reason I rarely take pictures of people, even though they are used to it (especially the Gondoliers!).

    To give her a print, understanding she might not have email, is v. thoughtful.

    Let us all think, as well as take pictures of what we are looking at.

  45. Elena

    February 4, 2015 at 4:04 am

    Thank you for a loveley image and a wonderful comment. I would love her to be able to read the comments her images always gather

  46. Lis

    February 4, 2015 at 5:06 am

    “The sign of a beautiful person is that they always see beauty in others.” -Unknown Scott, YOU have a heart of GOLD. =)

  47. Ramona

    February 4, 2015 at 6:03 am

    Maybe u’ll find her story some day. Maybe u’ll be able to share it or maybe it will be one of those stories you will want to keep for yourself. Those are the best..
    http://www.thelabelscouturier.com

  48. Pierre

    February 4, 2015 at 6:25 am

    OMG a tear fell off my eyee reading your post…

    Pierre

  49. Astrid

    February 4, 2015 at 7:34 am

    Scott, she and you are equally beautiful persons. What a touching post.

  50. Jacqueline

    February 4, 2015 at 9:18 am

    I’m afraid she cried cause she saw herself on the picture..
    Once, she was a beautiful young woman for sure, with her life ahead of her and all the man watching her..
    and now you showed her what age she actually has.. This makes a woman sad.. But I say: the lady was, is and will be stylish!
    Youth is only a short period of time wich is forever over for her, and soon for all of us now young….

    • Wendy

      February 5, 2015 at 12:28 am

      We’ll said ….my thoughts too

  51. Lee Ann

    February 4, 2015 at 11:15 am

    I love that we don’t know her story. The photo allows each viewer to imagine whatever she or he thinks is the story beyond her eyes. Thank you for seeking her out whenever you are in Milan.

  52. tallulah

    February 4, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Who needs youth. This lady is an icon and we love her.

  53. Amy

    February 4, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I’m very touched by this post. Thank you

  54. charl

    February 4, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Please go back ! I want to know about her life, I’m sure she a has story to be told-

    A great gesture of you to get her the picture, she clearly appreciated that.

  55. mosaic_world

    February 4, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    such a sweet story. very touching.

  56. meg

    February 5, 2015 at 11:35 am

    beautiful…the image and the story behind it.

    http://www.waterlilyshop.com
    @waterlilyshop

  57. JP

    February 6, 2015 at 2:22 am

    She has been beautiful since the day she was born. I’m sure people commented, what a pretty girl, when she was a child. Judging from the way she oozes glamour, she was most positively a smoking hot woman while in her prime. I believe you reminded her of these times. When everyone wanted to take her picture.

  58. Carlota

    February 6, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Bravo. At the end of all this it is all that matters. This woman wants to be seen, and in a good way i say this, and you showed that you saw her, in a beautiful way. only some sweetness to eachother matters. Bless you

  59. odessa chen

    February 7, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    The last picture you posted of her was SO incredibly inspirational. I posted it on Facebook as my hope that one day when I’m that age I will have achieved such a completely opulent yet Rock and Roll look. I’m working towards it but it takes a long time to have style like hers! I remember her belts, furs and rings. She is stunning. Thank you.

  60. sophia

    February 9, 2015 at 8:10 am

    I have been loving the images you have been sharing of this wonderful lady and I have even blogged about it here http://www.sojustnice.com/inspiration/
    This latest post is such a wonderful moment for both you and this fabulous lady. Keep the images coming of her. With Love Sojustnice.com

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