Staring Through a Viewfinder
The eyes are the windows to the soul, so it is said. With our societal conditioning, and during all our frantic efforts to say things and to be heard, how often is it that we really look a person in the eye? Those who study interpersonal behaviour know that we watch the mouths of people more than the eyes when we listen to them speak, even during one-to-one conversations. We make eye-contact easily enough though, several times a minute.
In fact, research indicates that the more familiar we are with someone, the number of times we look at his or her eyes increase. But do we really ‘look’ at them? It is during the silent exchanges that eyes are met and things are shared so powerfully and meaningfully, without the need for words. That is photography… a silent communion through the viewfinder… our personal window to the world so that we may see its soul… where more is understood in an instant of relating quietly within the confines of a frame.
And there is the final, most elegant form of companionship, of mutually being beside, with perfect understanding. No need for looking into souls… just watching the world go by. And perhaps sharing an easy, meandering colloquy. This is when we keep our cameras aside for a while. Let the shutter fall when there is something to say.
This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of Better Photography.Tags: K Madhavan Pillai, Edit note, May 2015