Photograph, “26” [The photographer himself].
When we look directly at someone’s face, we offer the person inclusion, appreciation, and acceptance. A look can say, “Are you alright?” “You look good,” “I trust you,” or “I like you.” We know that when we look at others, we will hold them, and the contexts in which we see them, in our memory.
A look can be an entire conversation in itself, or a tentative invitation to start one. We don’t look directly at people we don’t accept, appreciate or value. We hold them in our field of vision, but make sure to look away when they face us, look off to the sides as we walk by them; anything to avoid the reflective glare of disdain from the other.
Photograph from “Trip to Hisakajima”.
The participants looking into the photographer’s lens are engaged in a conversation. They’re displaying various levels of engagement, but they are looking right at him. Their expressions are non confrontational. They’re saying, “Alan, you’re alright. Drop by anytime.”
All photographs courtesy Alan Clayton Williams/ Veritalens, Tokyo & Nagasaki, Japan.
2 replies on “Are you looking at me?”
I think that when the eyes meet, even for a mere second, it becomes impossible to not acknowledge the other persons humanity.
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I appreciate this insight, thank you. This is why the spiteful don’t look in your face. They can’t allow you to be human.