There are few or almost no faces in my photos. Several factors are involved. First, my shyness, which is not helped by the second factor, the right to people’s image.
Here, it is forbidden to take pictures of individuals who do not give their consent. I remember a violinist in the Parisian subway who booed me for taking his picture, demanding that I put money in his bowl. I had shown him the screen of my device and pressed the “Delete” button.” Instead of calming down, the man became angrier. He had just lost in every way. A few years ago, I asked a friend to let me use some of the pictures of him to use in my website portfolio. The photos were simple, beautiful, one of them showed him naked, but in a very suitable pose. He was really handsome in that picture. He certainly had his reasons, we all did, but his refusal left me with a bitter taste. I am obviously naive and do not understand, like a child, that he is not given what he wants.
This man, there, in the blurry picture above, I would have liked to follow him, talk to him, but he probably wouldn’t have understood my gesture, would probably have felt even more humiliated, at least, that’s what I think.
I was talking the other day with a New York photographer who said she didn’t have this problem in her country. The same is true for Brazilians who love to have their pictures taken.
Here, in our northern and inexorably decaying countries, people cling to the little they have left. They are afraid of any usurpation and only parsimoniously grant others the right to photograph them, especially if it is to show them in their natural beauty that usually escapes everyone’s eyes. These photos may show a truth that they no longer want to hear, and I can only respect their wishes in the end. They have their lives to live, don’t want to complicate it, wouldn’t want it to cost them their jobs, etc. I understand all this, and I’m sorry about it, though.
How many times would I have wanted, in the subway, in the street, to stop a man, a woman, a child, smile at him, ask him/her for a few moments of his/her life to lean against the wall in order to catch his/her gaze. I often think that I should print myself a business card on which I would show my white paw, try to convince strangers that I am neither bad nor mercantile.
I am, I repeat, naive, modernity has not yet succeeded in liberating Man. He’s more scared than ever, and I’m too shy to make fun of him.