A mile in her shoes

April 26, 2012

By Stephen Lam

Call it goofy, weird, fun.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been tasked to photograph something with all the above. As photojournalists, we are always on the hunt for compelling images that give our audience a ‘feel’ of the scene. That said, it’s not an everyday event where your photo assignment puts a focus on people’s shoes.

I was given such an assignment recently to photograph the tenth annual Walk A Mile In Her Shoes annual event in the city of San Jose where men, women, teens, and adults walked a mile in high-heels around city blocks to raise awareness for sexual violence.

According to the Department of Justice’s 2010 National Crime Victimization Survey, 268,574 cases of rape and sexual assaults were reported. To put it in perspective, that translates into a case occurring every two minutes. While the numbers have fallen dramatically in recent years, there are still many unreported cases and it’s very sad to see such staggering numbers.

As participants from all walks of life continued to trickle into Plaza De Cesar Chavez in downtown San Jose, they were directed to tables of shoes where they chose a pair of high-heels to walk in. Heels of various heights and designs were chosen and fitted.

After a brief introduction by various officials, participants embarked on their mile walk. It seemed like second nature for some, but for others this was an entirely foreign experience.

With the weather cooperating, and beautiful late afternoon lights, everything came together nicely without a hitch. I wonder what it would be like if I photographed the assignment wearing a pair of heels.

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