Harrinson Torres, a musician of life
August 10, 2016
Being a professional photographer dedicated to capturing headshots becomes an opportunity to capture the essence of people, agencies and their unfolding dreams – allowing me the privilege to witness greatness. Over the next few months I am writing about agencies and people shaping our society by either offering unique services, products or a great life. Today I am writing about Harrinson Torres a refugee, a musician and inspiration to us all.
“Carlos, my last photographer didn’t believe in me… He said it, so I couldn’t be myself – he uninspired me. That experience scared me from seeing another headshot photographer, but had heard great things about you and was hopeful that it will be different, today…”. Harrinson explained at the start of our session, my heart broke thinking that he would be paying hard earned dollars to a photographer who was emotionally blind.
“When I was a little boy, maybe six or seven I travelled from one town to another in Colombia, somehow an impulse made me go to a new direction – I think it was destiny. I was on my own without family or support on the streets at a crossroad when I met a cura ( a priest ), he saved my life” explained Harrinson during the session. “How did – El cura help you?” I replied in Spanglish. “Father Pelizzari an italian believed in me and sheltered me in the monastery where I would be educated, fed and loved.”
Harrinson wanted to immigrate to Venezuela in search of a better life, but was deported back to Colombia ( lucky thing since Venezuelans are now emmigrating to Colombia in search of better lives ). He would try USA and Mexico only to fail before moving to Toronto years later to become an immigrant, a worker and now a musician. This Man in front of my camera was born in the streets of Buena Ventura, Colombia as an orphan and managed to survive. He dedicated years in search of a better life abroad and with tenacity, hope and heart found Canada.
“Music is a way to say what we don’t say, but feel it in the whisper of songs”, I mix rapp with Colombian music. Harrison sang during his session and my hairs on my spine were raised by the magnificent sounds produced by his beautiful energy. He reminded me a little of Louis Armstrong, not by musical style but by energy. I always wondered if the lyrics of “what a wonderful world” meant that he chose a wonderful world rather than granted a wonderful world, just like Harrison who has created a wonderful world where most would have died young in his situation.
Later we went outside to capture his second set of portraits. Someone in the street lying on the ground by Tim Horton’s asked for our attention. Harrison pulled out a five dollar bill and padded the Man on the ground, smiled and looked at him eye to eye “Take care of yourself my friend”, he said. What this Man of the streets of Vancouver didn’t hear but nonetheless felt was Harrison Torres inspiration. Harrison doesn’t need to say it, it’s in his eyes, soul and now portrait. You can be whomever you want should you try once, twice or a thousand times.
Couldn’t help but to wonder why some people choose to become headshot photographers if they can’t see greatness sitting in front of their eyes and camera. “Gracias Harrinson”.www.htorresmusic.com