Monday, May 16

Tell Me A Story • 2: Suspending Disbelief

Runner in the April 30th, 2016 YWCA Race Against Racism

We live across the street from Lancaster's YWCA. Since the turn of the century the Y's held a Saturday April morning Race Against Racism attracting thousands of runners. Nice of them to flood the street out front and the park we adjoin with a sea of puzzling faces. And As I wrote in the last post... "A face ignites its own explanation: Which is a dramatic narrative." So wandering through the crowds with my long lens (Canon 70-300mm) lets me pluck out wondering, y'know? 

Take this young guy. Someone said he's a 16 or 17 year old high school student. Hmmmm.... He looks like a movie star, no? It's hard to pry out tales from young faces, particularly when they are way attractive. Still, although it looks like the young man's won a lot in the gene lottery, I'm guessing that those shoulders and arms took a bunch of discipline to pump, right? And his caramel skin and curly hair seem latin? About thirty feet from this guy sat a collection of food vendors where he could have grabbed candy, fries, pretzels, and pastries. Instead he chose that apple. 

Uh-huh, there's discipline there and add the 5 kilometer run he just finished the guy's got an athlete's instinct. Do we instinctively trust handsome or pretty faces? It's like attractive people have a unique muscle that works emotionally. But it also defends them like an armor... protects them from probing. Maybe that's why lead actors are so good-looking: so that we'll believe whatever character they'll pull on for a performance? 

Does beauty make it easier for an audience to suspend disbelief? Hmmmm.... 

Grabbed the shot hand-held with my Canon 7D at 160mm (perfect length for portraits, huh?), 1/1000 sec and a low noise 400 ISO. The morning was slightly overcast and still early enough for sweet light. 



2 comments:

Cedric Canard said...

In this world having beauty is almost like having a free pass, especially if you throw in being tall. With both of those you get the jobs, the breaks, the promotions. Or at least that's what "scientists" tell us. In any case I'm liking this portrait series. This guy looks much older than 17 but hey I'm too far from that age to remember what it looks like so who knows?
I don't think it's the age of the face that makes it difficult to pry out a tale. I saw an exhibition which featured portraits of homeless kids and I can tell you there was plenty to read from those unfortunate, young faces. And perhaps that's it. A fortunate life doesn't leave any marks, it doesn't rob the sparkle from innocent eyes, it doesn't crease the brow or weigh down the spirit.
This guy looks fortunate. Good looks, athletic, bright. Life's been kind. So far. And let's face it we humans are more fascinated by drama than by good fortune. Sure we like a happy ending but we want to see the struggle, the pain, the heartache. In a portrait, we want to see it in the eyes and that might be the only flaw in this particular portrait, if you don't mind e saying so Ted. The eyes are hidden. So there might be a story there, there might be pain or struggle or self doubt. And with that thought, with that possibility that we are left only to imagine, your photo is saved. Saved by its flaw if that young man truly has a charmed life because now we are left perhaps not with a story but with questions which play on our imagination as easily as words in a book or scenes in a movie.

Ted said...

Yeah.... Being an insanely beautiful woman is like having an extra muscle. Or even a firearm, huh?

This young man was followed about by a young woman who solicitously offered him food, adjusted his hair, and touched him a lot. And yet he seemed sort of oblivious to her, not rudely, nor did he show gratitude, nor annoyance. I tried to capture that, but the swirl of the crowds made it impossible. Let me be clear, he was not showing arrogance, he seemed merely deaf and blind to her existence. Perhaps he did not even know her?

Yep, we like drama a bunch. And if it's not obvious, we'll imagine it. It's what drives gossip, huh?

You're right about the power of eyes. There are so many micro-muscles crammed around our eye-sockets. And each seems hard-wired to some Freudian/Youngian part of our subconscious to multi-task out emotional meanings from the background way... way... way... behind our conscious levels of thought. They act like, what card players call, tells. I think that reading those tells is a talent which can be improved by practice and study, but if you lack the talent to begin with... Well, you are a lot more alone in the world, right? Artists have the talent to read, recall, and reveal those tells.