A portrait, at last

By: Louk Vreeswijk

Feb 02 2014

Tags: , ,

Category: Asia, India

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Aperture:f/8
Focal Length:51.8mm
Shutter:1/0 sec

A person’s face – the mirror of the soul ….
For sure, concentration on a face can be enough for an intriguing photo. But somehow I often seem to want to include more elements. Show more of the body, of the environment.

When taking pictures, I’m looking at the world, at nature, at man-made environments, and at people’s presence and doings in these environments. Maybe I’m not interested enough in individual psyches of people whom I don’t know personally. Fact is, portraits are few among my photographs.

When we see a portrait of a well known person – a film star, politician, artist, ….. – we can compare the photo with the image that we already have of that person in our mind. Does the portrait confirm this image in any way, or not quite? Does it add a so far unknown aspect to its character? And so on. But when we see a portrait of somebody we don’t know and have never seen before, the face must show something that invites us to have a closer look, to feel intrigued by its features and expression, or to just admire its beauty. We may look for cultural and environmental extras or clues, however small, that can help us in interpreting the face, and tell us a bit more of the person of which it is a part.

So it is not by accident that I have taken the portrait above in the format of a landscape. We vaguely see hills and a few simple houses, which may lead us to conclude that we’re looking at a woman living in the mountains, while her ornaments tell us that she must be Indian.

Yes, she’s a beautiful, traditional woman of Kumaon in the Indian Himalayas, close to Nepal.

Photo of the week: Almora, India 2011

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