This is Luis. He comes to sell his potted plants and flowers every day at a popular café in Medellín. I noticed him immediately; he is relaxed, content and doesn’t try to push anyone to buy his plants. He simply sits at a table for 20 mins, looking around and smiling. The baristas know him and always bring him a small cup of drip coffee to enjoy while he’s there.
I badly wanted to capture his essence, and since I can’t make use of a potted plant here, I gave him 500 pesos for his time while I took his portrait.
Unfortunately, a group of tourists saw me doing this, noticed his beauty, and followed suit. They didn’t pay him anything, and this annoyed the hell out of me. I think if you’re asking someone (who is in your presence specifically to ask for money) to pose for a photo, you should be able to tip them at least what they’re asking for their wares. 500 pesos is equal to $0.16 USD. It’s more than he was asking for one of his plants.
So, here is my PSA: if you’re taking photos of someone in need who is selling something, either buy the thing or give them the equivalent in a tip.
Luis gave me his big wonderful smile in exchange, and I think it was more than worth it.