I spent my whole childhood wishing I were older and now I’m spending my adulthood wishing I were younger. – Ricky Schroder
A successful portrait is about the maker, the viewer, and the subject. It’s about all three in nearly equal proportions. That’s when a picture really works … when it’s about all of us” Keith Carter (From the book Twenty Five Years)
Smiling Faces (Sometimes)
Sometimes when its hard to cope and walk the right path all you need is a hand to lend
Sometimes all you need is a good loyal friend
But even smiling faces hide a reality, fakeness is so sad to see
Dont be tricked into seeing the emotion to see smiling faces
Sometimes you have to stare inside an ocean our souls are on the mend
For sometimes a smile is just an upside down frown my friend.
Smiling Faces (Sometimes) © Alex 2011
Street portrait taken in Herat, Afghanistan early January 2002, weeks after the ‘fall’ of the Taliban. The boy and I never spoke, merely smiling at each other as I gestured to take his photograph. He may have only been around 13 years old but his energy was of an older man. He was gracious and far from what some people in the West think of Afghanistan, Afghan’s are wonderful people. Now aged around 23 I often think of him and his wonderful energy he gave me with no words.. just a smile. I wonder what became of him?
Later on the same day I spoke to a shop owner and he spoke of his hopes that Afghanistan “would settle into peace and there would be no more war” but he said even though that was his hope the reality would be that “if the West stayed there could never be a real lasting peace anywhere in the country”. In 10 years his country has not moved one inch forward to peace because of outside influences but then again outside influences have never left Afghanistan alone.
“The human face signals our emotions, suggests our cultural background. It is the naked part, that we present to the world; our faces speak realms about our identity. Our faces anchor us to our histories, our stories and the stories of our ancestors. We tell our stories through our faces: how we present ourselves, how we use this personal canvas to convey not only our emotions, but also histories and identities.” Steve Pyke
This image was taken at Amsterdam Fashion Week as part of a feature for de Volkskrant. The image was shot backstage and the lighting was spotlights positioned high and directed down. The model is unposed. I was struck by how the spot lighting lit half her face perfectly. I composed wanting to put the shadow to the left. This is a full frame image with no cropping.