I have always been intrigued by the first impression a person can make. Depending on our body language, we send different messages to the people who meet us. Some of them are so strong, that we relate them to character features. Within seconds we create our own version of the person that is standing in front of us.
What I find most interesting is discovering the contradictions between appearance and character features. These human paradoxes always got my interest and attention. Lately I’ve been asking myself how photography can capture these subtle contrasts. Of course, portraying the body is not difficult, but showing the differences between appearance and personality can be tricky. You can do it if you catch one person in an unfamiliar situation, something that would not be suited for his or her appearance. Unfortunately, these kinds of chances can appear quite rarely. However, the eyes were one of the answers that I found to this conundrum. I discovered lately that eyes can contradict everything about the rest of the body. I think maybe it is because they cannot lie about how a person really is. They are restless communicators and they carry a lifetime’s worth of experience.
When doing street photography, it’s hard to find these contrasts only by seeing a person for maybe a few seconds. Sometimes you can also find other little details that reveal the contrast between body and personality, like a book that the person might be carrying. If we pay close enough attention we might hurry up the process of discovering the real person hidden underneath the thin shroud of appearances. I once photographed a man on the streets just because I felt at first the he is a man of contradictions. At first I didn’t have time to observe him, as he caught my attention and I simply started doing what I like the most: take photos. Not little was my surprise when I approached him and had a closer look. His eyes were storytellers and they were so very different from his whole appearance. Here, I feel, was a moment of pure story-telling quality. It wasn’t my photographs that were necessarily the outstanding aspect, but the story that this man’s image told that went beyond what I, or my camera, could capture.