Eye contact is the most powerful and intimate way to draw your viewer into your photo.
In the photo below, the little girl's eyes immediately draw us in. Her smile and relaxed but somewhat shy posture suggest an invitation for us to come closer. This photo is also interesting in that while the little girl silently reached out to me with her friendly curiosity, her mother was totally disengaged. It's against this neutral background that the little girl's curious expression shines through even more brightly. As I walked closer to her, this little girl stepped off her porch and slowly approached me. Her mother turned her head and calmly watched our encounter. Although we couldn't communicate and our interaction was brief, I was glad I connected with this little girl whose life was completely foreign to me, as mine was to her. It was one of those moments where you realize that although you appear to be different from the person in front of you, you really aren't. We just look, act, and speak differently, but deep down we are really not that different. I think this is what meditation masters try to help us realize through mindful living. (More on mindful living in later posts.)
|Hmong Young Girl in Traditional Dress, Son La Province, Viet Nam|
As with the photo of the Hmong young girl above, the baby's blue eyes in the photo below immediately draw us in. Next, we notice his slight frown, then his flushed cheeks, and finally his determined pouty lips. Is this an expression of petulant annoyance? Or did he have such a fabulously active day that now all he wants to do is to nap? Given those glazed eyes, I suspect he is fighting the urge to nap.
|Ryan on Long Beach Island, NJ|
Before long, the baby is sound asleep in his father's warm embrace. In the photo below, the golden rays of the late afternoon sun draw our attention to the baby's beautifully lighted face. But what draws us further into the photo are his father's happy eyes, which reach out to us to communicate the joy in his heart. It's obvious from those smiling eyes that father and son had a fun-filled day at the beach. You can tell from those eyes that the father is rapturous and blissful by the unconditional love and trust that he shares with his son, a unique feeling that only a parent is blessed to experience.
|Ryan and Jeff on Long Beach Island, NJ|
It's little joyful moments like these that will last with both of them for a lifetime. Had the father not been completely present when he played with his son earlier during the day, or had the father allowed his past regrets or future worries to interfere with his time with his son earlier, he would have lost a precious day. But from the father/son body language, I suspect the father was completely present and treasured every single moment that he spent with his son. Treasure the little joys in your lives and be present in the moment, for it is fleeting.
Be present in the moment, for it is fleeting is a sentiment that you will read frequently in my Meditative Photography series. It's this mindful approach to your daily activities that not only will help you strengthen lasting and meaningful relationships, but it will also help you create beautiful and memorable images with your camera.
Be Present in the Moment,
for it is Fleeting.
for it is Fleeting.