I approached this gentleman in Durham, NC and asked him if I could take his portrait. He was leaning against a back alley way watching the pedestrians stroll by. He seemed disconnected. I also felt somewhat disconnected and out of place because I wasn't really interacting with the subjects that I was taking portraits of.
After I asked him if I could take his portrait, he began to tear up and proceeded to tell me that he moved to Durham after Hurricane Katrina. He told me he lost everything. I was initially confused as to why he was telling me this but I quickly understood that he was simply recognizing the connection that had happened by me approaching him and he was moved enough to tell me the story that he recollects the most.
LESSON LEARNED: Don't just take portraits. Get the story then take the portrait. In post-processing I was able to choose the portrait that seemed to communicate the man's story most effectively because we had a short conversation before I took the portrait.