Saturday, May 1, 2010

They got character

Throughout my years of photographing around the world, the one thing I’ve noticed is that I truly enjoy taking pictures of the elderly much more so than the young. Why, because they’ve experienced life much more fully than a youngster and it shows on their faces. To me, more the wrinkles the better photograph it’ll make. Experiencing life and its trials and tribulations is like reading a facial road map; it shows their true character. Most of the time they are just honored to have their picture taken.

Out in the middle of the vast Atlantic Ocean, on a wind swept island, where most of the islands’ residents live in one-horse villages on a two-lane cobble roads, the Azoreans are different from their more modern counterparts of Portugal. By today's standards, the 300,000 inhabitants are mostly poor and ill educated. While most residents, have full time jobs they are also part-time fishermen and farmers, to help make ends meet, and these hardship are lines etched on their faces of life.

On another island nation, Japan, can also afford the photographer a chance to capture some great character study photographs in a land where the elderly is highly revered. I’ve never had a problem in getting my elderly subjects to let me capture the pictures I wanted. Photographing people in foreign countries required a different mindset. What I’ve done in the past to calm distrust was to introduce myself and try to communicate that I was interested in them and what they were doing. Also, learning a couple of words in the language showed them that I was interested in them and that opened the doors to make good photographs.