Pic of the Week-Worry and Wisdom

A b&W portrait photograph, made in Chennai, India that conveys the worry and wisdom associated with old ageCanon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series lens @ 105mm. Exposure Details: 1/20 sec @ f4.

I made this photo in Chennai (Madras), India during February 2011. I noticed this gentleman while visiting a small village, the building of which my mother had helped to finance, years earlier. I noticed him in the village chapel/meeting room. It was a simple matter to ask him to move into an area, not far from the open doorway, into an area bathed in lovely, soft light.

He looked like a kindly chap and I wanted, as always, to make a life-affirming image. He certainly wore the appearance of a life lived and I couldn't help but be aware of the worry and world weariness  that seemed to be etched into his face. It reminds me of the notion that wisdom is a mixture, in equal measure, of intelligence and experience. And this gentlemen's experience seemed to be well earned indeed.

I like the delicate tonality evident in the wrap worn around his body and the surrounding background. Notice how the ruffled shape of the wrap around his neck helps to frame his face. The texture qualities in his beard and eyebrows have been highlighted by my decision to opt for a black and white rendering.

Beauty surrounds us. We just have to slow down, take a breath and look. And we have to learn to look with more than our eyes. Our eyes are simply the end of a viewing funnel and it's our choice as to whether that funnel begins at our mind or our heart. One will try to rationalize and make sense of things while the other will simply see without judging.

Likewise, as photographers, we have the choice as to whether the purpose of our funnel is to gather as much information as possible or to open ourselves up to the world around us. Empathy will bring understanding, both of the lives lived by others and of our own life's purpose.

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru