In our lives, we all encounter faces that leave deep impressions on us, faces that stay with us long after we part ways. This man’s face is one of those for me.
This photograph was taken in a tiny rural village near Roopangarth Fort in Rajasthan, India, in December 2010. Ben and I took a walk around the village in the late afternoon, observing local life, and were struck by how welcoming and open the locals were. The children rushed up to us, smiles beaming, eager to show us their toys, their puppies, to give us a snapshot of their lives. The adults too were friendly and inquisitive and when we motioned to our camera as a means to ask permission to take their photographs, their faces lit up with great pride.
This man in the green silk shirt was one of them. I had noticed him standing on his own, quietly observing us from afar. Interested in him, we approached, indicating to our camera and then to him. Immediately he nodded, straightened up, flicked his scarf over one shoulder and posed, casually placing his hands in his pockets. What a natural! Had he done this before? Gazing deep into the camera, those kind, dark eyes bore straight through the lens and deep into my memory.
Still to this day I have a million questions I want to ask this man. What is his name? What line of work did he do? Who is his family? What does his home look like, smell like? Those lines in his face, what etched them there? What were his struggles? What sources of joy painted those smile lines? What were his hopes? I wonder whether he was just as curious about me as I was about him.
Yep. this face is going to stay with me for a while yet.
Have you had a similar experience on your travels? I’d love to hear your story below!