random thoughts: the eyes have it

Those of you who have been coming to Chookooloonks for a while know that I'm pretty passionate about photographing portraits (and for those of you who might be new to the site, here's Exhibit A).  The reason is entirely because I love faces.

I mean, I really love faces.  Faces are just so amazingly beautiful.  And I'm not just talking about wide smiles, or awesome crows' feet, or dimples, or cleft chins or gap-toothed grins or interesting beauty marks, either.  I mean, those are great and all, but those are just the icing on the cake.

For me, it's all about the eyes.

Whenever I take a portrait, I usually prefer to "shoot wide open" -- setting my camera lens so that it takes photographs where only a small slice of the photograph is actually in sharp focus; the rest of the of the photograph fades into a buttery, soft blur. Not all photographers do this, it's just a quirk of mine.  And whenever I do this, I always make sure that the sharpest focus is on my subject's eyes.  They say "the eyes are the windows to the soul," but I think they're more "portals to the heart."  The eyes are everything.

And so, after having photographs of tons of faces, I've come to believe the following:  if you want to convey a truly meaningful expression of kindness, look the person dead in the eyes, and smile.  It works wonders.  Do this with your loved ones, do this with the guy at Starbucks, do this with the gas station attendant, whomever.  Practice it a lot.  Do it today, and then try doing it every day.  People will start to think that you're this incredible flirt, just because you're taking a moment to be respectful and kind -- it's that rare a thing to see.  But you and I know that this isn't about flirtation: it's about letting people feel seen.  I honestly think that if everyone made a practice of doing this, there would be straight-up world peace.  No joke.

On a related note:  you know all those magazines and TV commercials and billboards advertising quick ways to look better/appear younger/be more beautiful?  Yeah, forget those.  Just do what I said in the paragraph above.  It'll instantaneously take years off, you'll look awesome, and it costs nothing.

Really, really.

And with that, Happy Love Thursday, everyone.

Images:  The beautiful Lisa Warninger, creative mind behind Urban Weeds blog.  We met in Portland earlier this month, and it was a real treat for me: I love her commitment to showcasing individuality on her blog, and it was an honour to photograph and be photographed by her.  Photographed with my Nikon D300, 50mm lens: aperture 1.4, shutter speed 1/500, ISO 200.


SongWaiting for the end by Linkin Park