One is the loneliest number

A infant’s shoe lies in the street on Buena Vista Avenue near Willow Street in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/11. ISO: 200).

In some ways shoes can be like old, trusted friends. The support and protect us as we walk through our lives. Some shoes are worn for fashion, making us look good and in turn raising our self-esteem. Others are worn for comfort. A bad set can leave us cranky and hobbled. A good pair can make us feel good and stand a little taller. Seeing one abandoned at the side of the road, missing its partner and its owner, it’s a little sad.

A lone sneaker near the home bleachers at Lincoln High School’s Spanos Stadium in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 31mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/10. ISO: 200)

What’s intriguing about seeing a lone shoe is the mystery behind it, the untold story behind each piece of footwear. Who lost it, how did it happen and why? For the most part, it’s impossible to track down the owner, so it’s left up to one’s imagination to fill in the details. Did the shoe outlive its usefulness, left for a newer model, unloved and unwanted? Perhaps one was lost during a wild escape, falling off Cinderella-style, the owner having no time to go back to retrieve it. Maybe it was thrown in anger by a jilted lover or jealous sibling.

A black sneaker found on California Street near Worth Street in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/11. ISO: 200)

In looking for pictures, I do a lot of driving through Stockton and San Joaquin County. Although I can’t always stop because of time or safety concerns, I often come across loafers, sneakers, boots, sandals and more, nearly all partnerless.  When I see one, I feel compelled to shoot it, perhaps so that it doesn’t leave this existence without some sort of recognition.

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