Passing In The Street

Passing In The Street, originally uploaded by Josh and Julie.

This picture was taken in the older area of Ankara within the castle walls, where a little girl was seated selling bracelets and keychains as an older man passed her on the street.

The girl is covering her face because to the right and out of the picture, a local photography club was passing by on a photo walk, and she didn’t want her portrait taken. People around the world have various reasons for shying away from a camera – once in Ecuador, I had a woman approach me in a market and ask me not to take pictures because her friend was afraid her soul would be stolen away. In conservative Muslim cultures, including those found in parts of Turkey, married women in particular will cover their faces or turn away because for them or their families, modesty requires it. A photographer needs to know and understand the people around him, and respect their feelings or beliefs.

I know this girl a little and often buy bracelets from her for my own children when passing by. She was laughing while covering her face, and I think her reason is one that can be understood by anyone in any culture when faced with a strange camera: she was embarrassed. Cultural beliefs may be different from place to place, but underneath some things are just human nature.

Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-200, f/7.1, 1/40 sec.

 

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