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!
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.
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.