I was visiting an ancient Japanese farmhouse, and there on the earth floor sat a very old, crippled lady gazing out the broken window, lumined in sunlight.
I was immediately attracted to photograph her. As I lifted my camera, she turned her face to me, and smiled. It was as if she knew how epiphanic she had appeared to me. And as if she had been sitting there in the sunlight waiting for me to come to behold her.
Was it I who had initiated this intimate moment, or she? And as I wondered – she smiled at me again. So knowingly.
Admire: to regard with wonder; esteem.
From the root SMEI, to smile. From which is derived our smile, smirk, marvel, miracle and mirror. And Miranda (the heroine of The Tempest): to be admired.
Every portrait subject, outwardly smiles or not, is smiling back at me. Every rock, every tree, every twig. For every Instance in my viewfinder I admire.
And, as Congreve wrote, “to admire, we should not understand.” He was referring to women, I to every photographic subject – everything in the viewfinder. Not to understand – that’s just the brain. But to feel admiration and wonder in the heart.
Every subject a miracle of Creation, every subject a Miranda.