Portraits

This post is a bit different than usually.

A while ago someone told me this: ” Your photos talks about the sadness inside you.”
“What do you mean?”, I asked. ” There is no human presence in your photos, only animals, plants, insects, landscapes but there is not a single presence of a human being. When you are happy you take photos of humans not of animals. ”

In the first instance I didn’t know what to say.

If you follow this blog for a while and saw many of my photos, I don’t know what do you think about me. Maybe you think the same? Do you think a person is sad just because his blog if full of photographs of animals and landscapes? It would be more than interesting to read your opinions.

In response to that person, I say this: I enjoy taking photos of birds because they never try to be something else than they really are. I look for sincerity/honesty/openness/transparency/nobility in my photos, and birds have these huge qualities. This applies to other animals, too.

I don’t take too often photos of humans because I am too shy to ask permission. And if I ever asked permission, people tried to look otherwise than they really are.

I like to take portraits, but I don’t share them often with others.

Today I will share with you four portraits. Four persons. Four souls.

Tell me your thoughts about these portraits.

 

Cornelapostol (1)
Argeș County,  2015

I was inside a car waiting for someone when I noticed this old Lady returning from farmers’ market. That look she has! I see here a winner because I think she defeated every hard moment of her life. It was for the first time I saw her and I will never see her again. But I keep her image inside my heart. There are looks which you never forget.

Cornelapostol (4)
Dâmbovița County, 2015

I was inside a bus when I took this photo. The bus was stopped to to pick up riders. This old Lady was sitting on a chair in front of her yard. I grabbed my camera I took several shots. I like every wrinkle of her because each one talks about real life and real persons, and not about photoshopped old Ladies, with a way-too-perfect skin as we often see in commercials.
She is old, and maybe sick but there is something inside her which makes her shine. Maybe is her kindness.

Maybe she is waiting for someone who is late. Or maybe she is curious about people walking on the street. Or maybe she remembers old friends who passed away.  We don’t know.

Cornelapostol (2)
Pitești, Argeș County, 2015

I was inside a train waiting for departure when I spotted this old Lady sitting on a bench waiting for her train.
Old, tired and maybe sick.

But how expressive is her face!

Oh, wrinkles! How much beauty you give to us.

Cornelapostol (3)
Dâmbovița County, 2015

Here is another portrait, this time a very pensive old Lady.
She was Standing outside a market and talking with someone. She was talking slow and from time to time and she had several stops. Then her right hand covered the mouth as she was trying not to say something easily, without great attention.
I took this photos from bus.

***

I took all these portraits hiding myself behind windows.
Am I coward? Am I a thief of portraits? Am I stupid enough? Don’t know yet. Maybe a mix of all before.
I will never see them again, but I keep their memories inside my heart.
But do I really treasure?

I treasure kindness, I treasure beauty, I treasure all those beautiful feelings I felt when I saw each Lady. I treasure new feelings mixed with the memories of my own grandmothers.

If you have wrinkles, or you are afraid of, I have some news for you: there are people who like you as you are, no matter how old you are. I enjoyed the time taking photos of them, and I treasure their memories even if they are strangers for me. I think there  are many chances to be liked by other just the way you are.

What do you treasure when you encounter the face of another person?

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12 thoughts on “Portraits

    1. Thank you.

      There is no reason to worry about wrinkles, and I am glad you know this. Even if it’s hard sometimes to understand you are in the present a new version of yourself, we will always find a way.

  1. Whoever told you, “When you are happy you take photos of humans not of animals”, I have to disagree! Photography is an art of passion between you and what pleases you as seen through your lens. The subject matter is a preference of choice & interest! I mostly take birds & wildlife photos as you do, because I love the challenge of capturing an image that is not ‘posing’ for me. That being said, I will also say that I LOVE taking photos of my 4½ year old grandson, no matter what he is doing, just random shots, no poses. Got some awesome captures, but they are for me and my memories. I’ve had offers of payment to do childrens’ birthday parties, but I haven’t done any. It’s not my interest, and I don’t want to do it just for the money. Birds and wildlife are my passion; and no one can tell me I am not happy because of the subjects I am or am not photographing!

    I do like your photos of the women because they are not posing for you. There is nothing wrong with experimenting with other subjects and having a variety for your portfolio. And you are right, people tend to look or act different if they know you are taking their photo. Happy shooting what YOU like to shoot, Cornel, don’t worry about what others say. Remember, it’s all about having fun!

    Sorry I got carried away here, just my two cents! Have a great weekend, Cornel.

    1. Thank you.

      I appreciate your time to write all these thoughts and I agree with you.

      Indeed, as you said, the challenge of capturing an image of someone/something which is not posing for us is so interesting, with so many reasons of joy.

  2. Wow, Cornel! So much thought provoking stuff here! Firstly, I think that it doesn’t matter so much what subjects you photograph, but it’s the WAY in which you take them. I don’t mean the technical aspect such as exposure etc. It’s a more difficult thing to describe – as if the photo captures the way in which the photographer sees an object, or a person, with his or her heart. So, if two or three photographers were taking the same shot, on the same settings, each would come out very differently. And so what I see in your photos (whether they are birds or people or insects) is a gentle curiosity, a wish to understand without putting yourself forward, and (especially with your birds) an absolute love of their ‘essence’. You put yourself on their level, you charm them with methods that only you can dream up, but it’s not harsh or judgmental – it’s almost like a kind of homage. So the love that you have for your subjects shines out of your photos. Also, if you saw our own holiday photos you would say that no one went on that holiday, because they are mostly landscapes and birds! And, because I think you instinctively value honesty and clarity in people, you shy away from taking people-shots because you know that most of them will ‘pose’ unintentionally, and not be true to themselves. The four portraits of old women are beautiful because they are candid – and you admire the qualities of strength and wisdom in their faces. Haha, your views about wrinkles could destroy the cosmetics market overnight! But so true. So, yes, there is a wistful sadness sometimes about your photos, but I would say it comes from your own depth of understanding and it is something to be cherished. I am sorry that this is probably the longest comment ever!! 🙂

    1. Thank you very much.
      As you say, we must talk here about a way in which we take photos. I am sure all our previous experience (in various domains ) shape our way of seeing, of understanding and trying to capture the essence of things. I saw your holiday photos and I enjoyed them as they are.
      Oh, that cosmetic market, or shall I call it lies market? I admit, many things are good for our health and beauty but others sell us only lies.

      No worries for long comment, sometimes you need more words to say something and even then you feel that’s not enough.

  3. The person who made that remark has very little insight into the joy that nature can bring. I always find taking pictures of people difficult and I can quite sympathise with those who don’t like having their picture taken as they think it might lead to their soul being stolen.

    1. You are so right, nature brings so much to us. So often is too difficult to take photos of people but when it comes to birds, for instance, it’s not the same.

  4. Hi Cornel, the comments you received above are just what I was thinking. I also do not agree with the person who said those things to you. It is hard to ask permission to take photos when you are shy, and of course people become stiff and awkward when they know they are posing.
    When you photograph animals, especially birds and insects, you are so sensitive and observant of them. I know how much patience it takes to get those good shots, and it tells me that you are quiet and calm and knowledgeable about your subject. I just cannot see sadness in these photos, instead I see joy in God’s creation and appreciation of beauty. You notice beauty in things that other people don’t even see, and you pay attention to it and bring others to awareness. You touch many lives with these photos.
    These portraits that you did take and share, of the elderly women, are just beautiful. They also show the sensitive awareness of beauty that you are gifted with. Keep up the good work! And take photos of whatever inspires you no matter what somebody else says!

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