Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Walk away from me

In the throes of a heated argument, when the object of your ire starts to walk away from you, the words easily spring to your lips, "Don't you dare walk away from me!" When two people are engaged with each other, the need to see the other's countenance, gauge their expressions, be able to read their minds, look for clues as to their feelings or their state of mind is present and real.

Add a camera to the mix and the dynamic undergoes a dramatic shift. There is something incredibly romantic about people walking away from the camera. The instrument lets you see things your eyes cannot. It freezes, for all eternity, the space between the foot and the ground, the turn of the head, the flick of the hair, the hunch of the shoulder, the carefree swinging of the arm. Aspects of a person you don't - or cannot - notice because the actions before and the actions after blend together with that one moment and the parts are lost in the whole.

The first time I felt compelled to capture someone walking away was years ago, when my in-laws first came to visit us here. My husband and my father-in-law were deep in some conversation and they broke off from the rest of us and headed down the path toward the White House.

It's not a great photograph clarity-wise or composition-wise, but I cherish it for the intangible, perhaps for the glimpse it offers into the future, perhaps for the intimation of camaraderie between the generations.

Then a few weeks ago, during our trip to the Tidal Basin, Altoid took this photo of myself and my son. Alty seemed to be busy with the cherry blossoms and the trees and the water, so my son and I walked on a little ahead of her, not wanting to cramp her style. A few minutes later she called out to us and showed us this. I'd found another fan of the 'subject-walking-away-from-the-camera' shot!

Image credit: Altoid

Needless to say, I love this picture and will cherish it for a long, long time, even (or especially?) when I'm well into my eighties, doddering along with a walking stick, wondering just where all the time went.

And then still later, when I went to India to visit family a couple of weeks ago, my brother showed me pictures he'd taken of his friend's wedding on a beach in Goa. The images and the setting and the composition, they were all awesome. And even more so the bride and groom. I fell in love with the pictures, with the three he had remaining after he'd given away the rest. And then I saw the fourth. I haven't stopped wanting to look at it.

Image credit: Sukku, my brother

Can you blame me?

The camera imparts its longing for a peek into the other side of the image. There's romance, there's mystery, there's a gentleness in the way the hands come together to hold one another (and to save the clothes from the water!), a determination and a promise in the way the feet are poised to march into the future, together.

18 comments:

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Absolutely gorgeous, and remains with you even after looking away...Your brother shares your photographic talent, I see!!!! Wonderful thoughts here! I love this post! ~Janine XO

Sands said...

Lovely pictures. Each one a special moment in its own standing :)

Tharini said...

What a post!!! Loved your thoughts...! This last picture is awesome....I loved the reflection of the couple on the water! beautiful!

DotThoughts said...

lovely post. you are so right that such "in-action" posts give us a side of a person we rarely see!

naperville mom said...

The last pic is so beautiful...Yes, there's some mystique in walking away from the camera:)

Sylvia K said...

Ah, Sujatha, this is you at your insightful best! The lovely thing first of all -- for me, is looking at a moment from a different perspective than we usually view a photograph. And somehow it offers, me at least, a chance to glimpse another moment in an even more meaningful way. Fabulous post, thoughts and photos!

ugich konitari said...

Sujatha,

What a great post.

You know what struck me ? The backgrounds of each photograph are so ideal, and thats why the subjects look like they belong....

Your husband and f-in-law, all rock solid and set in life, walking in well laid out paths amidst the greenery and a typical US place, the parking lot....

Your son and you , amidst flowering life, a drizzle enchanting the kids, your bright red parka like the place they all gravitate to, after taking pictures....adventures in cherry blossom county by the river..

And finally, the wonderful picture on the Goa Beach, beauty of a new life stage amidst the perennial waves, some tiny,some big, all dissipating amidst the fine sands and jutting troublesome rocks, strewing shells of beauty everywhere....such is life.

Try switching the backgrounds in each picture and see.

Anonymous said...

You have a talent for capturing the often-overlooked details of life and the pleasure you draw out of them. It amazes me and inspires me to stop and smell the roses.

-DS

sujata said...

the pictures we get on facing a camera can never be as honest as the ones taken while we are walking away from it..the walks in each of the shots are so 'lost in my world'. loved the images, and agreed with your thoughts..great post!

Kavi said...

This is wonderful ! And when you walk away, portions of you remain. And that is there in the onlookers eyes..and heart and mind !

Lovely !

Chapati said...

Really nice pictures!

Sujatha said...

@ Janine, thank you! Although my brother would heartily disagree with you. He thinks I have no talent, photographic or otherwise. :)

@ Sands, each one a special moment it is!

@ T, Dottie, N'ville Mom, thanks.

@ Sylvia, thank you for such a sweet comment. I love the different perspective part.

@ Ugich, thank you! Yes, I can see what you are saying about the backgrounds, they do contribute a lot to the pics, but that couple, they would look good just about anywhere! :)

@ DS, thank you. You're making my blush!

@ Sujata, that's a great point. It was on my mind when I was thinking about this post, but I didn't put it down. It's that the subjects' defenses are down, they are not guarded in their expressions or body postures. It's what makes the shots so endearing.

@Kavi, totally agree with that.

@ Chapati, thanks!

Banno said...

And the reflection, ofcourse. It's perfect.

choxbox said...

awesome suj!

Frankie Anon said...

The walking into the future aspect is what touches me, especially in the wedding photo.

Frankie Anon said...

Hello again. I have another award for you on my blog. I know I gave you one already, but I just can't help it...if there's an award to be bestowed, you're at the top of the list!

Usha said...

I had never thought about this so far although I have wondered why so many love and friendship cards had pictures of people walking away together. Very interesting and insightful.
I just had a thought: may be we tend to be ourselves in these photos because we don't even know we are being captured while there is always a bit of posing while facing the camera?

karmickids said...

OMIGOD.It doesnt say much for my maturity that the last pic had me swooning like a dratted teen...

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