March 7, 2014 – Deep in Thought
Three women. In no way connected to each other. Or at least I don’t think so. They sit in different locations in a sound stage that for tonight, has been converted into a place where 600 or 700 hundred people have come together to honor the contributions made by half a dozen people in this society. Dinner has been served before the presentations take place. Prior to dinner, there is an hour and half of cocktails. The tequila, vodka and whisky are flowing freely as are the glasses of red and white wine and bottles of beer. This is Texas. There is nothing skimpy going on at this event. People are pretty relaxed after a long day and after a few cocktails under their belts.
You look at the faces of the women, which can barely be seen in the dark shadows. The only visible light from where I sit is emanating from the stage and so the light we see on these women is the reflection hitting their faces as they look towards the honored guests of the hour on the stage.
I could have equally taken pictures of the men who were largely engaged in the same process. The only difference being, that in the case of the men, if they were restless and thinking about going home, they would likely show less restraint in expressing their emotions. They may turn to their girlfriends or wives and be saying in a tone, somewhere above a whisper, how long do we need to stay?
What are they thinking? One of the women being honored , is a young actress who has a truly beautiful face. She is still in her 20s and the best years of her life and career are still ahead of her although she is well and truly on her way. Are the women celebrating her success; or are they, like the men, admiring her beauty?
One of the honorees is a musician and singer who has graced the radio waves and concert halls for 40 plus years. His songs are well known and as we all listen to some of the “golden oldies” we are transported back to a moment in time when we heard the relevant song that perhaps had some significance for us at the relevant time. The woman in the third picture appears like she might be smiling. Perhaps she has a fond memory of where she was on the particular occasion when the song was being played. The woman in the first photo appears less relaxed. Perhaps her memory is not as good as the other woman.
The truth is, I don’t know what they are thinking. Two people can sit and see the same image, or listen to the same piece of music and will almost certainly have a different reaction. All of these three pictures were taken in the span of 2 or 3 minutes. Each of the subjects caught my attention and I tried to imagine what it was that was on their minds.
As someone who loves to take photos of people from afar, it is impossible not to look at someone’s face and try and imagine the emotion they are thinking as you take the picture. Looks can be deceptive. What might appear to be a relaxed and peaceful face could be hiding great anger and frustration. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that when I take a picture of a subject who is some distance away, I stay and watch the character or characters for some additional period of time to see if my perception of them was correct. Even then, I may never know what they are really feeling.
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
(Photos taken in Austin, Texas – March 6, 2014)