Matriarch. Areni Village, Armenia
Fujifilm X-Pro1, 16mm lens, 1/4400 second @ f1.4, ISO 200
I'm known as a landscape photography, but I'm also a closet people photographer. This doesn't mean I photograph them from a closet, which boggles the mind when I think what could mean. Rather I like to engage with people and, if I am brave enough, take their portrait.
And sometimes not speaking the language is a huge benefit. It's not like photography is a secret science anymore. And taking a photograph no longer means stealing someone's spirit or soul! So, walking up to someone, smiling, saying one or two words in their language and then pointing at your camera usually gets the question across.
In Georgia and Armenia last month, we stopped off in a few little villages just to take a walk around. In this village we also stopped to have lunch, so I figured the locals were used to tourists, if not photo tour tourists! Sometimes I walked around with the women on my tour because they seemed to be much better at striking up a conversation than me. On other occasions, I struck out on my own with mixed success.
But I enjoy the process. Very much!
This photograph of an ageing matriarch came about as a result of an introduction. A few of the other photographers had discovered her before lunch, so we made up an excuse to return to her home to see if the rest of us could take a photograph. I think it made her day. During the 60 seconds or so I crouched in front of her, she moved her stick here and there, but I like it best outstretched as you see it here. And I love the look she is giving her daughter behind me - "What the hell are these people doing here!"
We placed her on her verandah in shade and then sat back and conversed with sign language. Mehmet our guide and the matriarch's daughter managed to converse a little and she also seemed to enjoy the visit. I'm not sure they'd want a horde of photographers there every week, but I am certain it brightened up their day and will give them something to talk about with their neighbours.
Chances are they experienced something similar!