Connectedness

I often wonder about human connections. When I'm out doing some street photography, I may be monitoring my camera settings, but I'm watching the people and the connections between them.  

The body language so obviously connecting the people I'm photographing is fascinating and every sort of body language tells a story.  If you're observant and especially an curious or imaginative person, it naturally leads to speculation...  And while none of this altered my life or will likely impact yours, these images I have in my mind have left a lasting impression.

Arms crossed (it wasn't cold), leaning away from him, hands in pocket, neither touching, nor looking at one another.   Did they quarrel or are they on the outs as a couple?  Perhaps it's just my overactive imagination, but I felt a tension here and not a good one.  It really seemed as if she did not want to be there and I felt sort of sad for them.

We can wonder, but we cannot judge.  Any possible backstory has brought people to where they now are in their lives. As I see peoples' expressions, and sometimes relative lack of expression, it leaves me wondering how they're connected; is it strong or tenuous, trusting or casual, do they enjoy the connection they have with one another or have they grown inured to someone close to them?

Their pace was matched and they seemed satisfied and comfortable with one another.  Strange, isn't it, how another couple who aren't touching or looking at one another, where one of them also has hands in pockets, can project so different an aura?  ...all this just in the seconds it took for them to pass and the 1/1600 sec during which the aperture was open.

And this one - it's funny how looking at these photos so long after I actually took them, brings back memories of specific people passing by.  I recall feeling no energy with these folks and this was emphasized by the big space between them.  I mean - Times Square is crowded and people tend to walk close together, even when they're not intimately connected.  But it seems like they had purposely, though perhaps unconsciously, maximized the space between them.  Of course,  the crossed arms, head down or looking anywhere but at one another increased the feeling if disconnectedness.  

I'm probably reading way too much into all the body language, in all of these photos, but reexamining these shots hasn't changed my opinion or wonder about the backstories these people carry with them.

This couple was more powerfully & expressively connected than anyone who passed my spot that night.  Not just walking closely; these two were absolutely in sync.  Their strides matched one another perfectly, their eyes focused sharply into the other's and their hands - look at the hands. Not just holding hands, but their individual fingers were intertwined.  Sure, this like sounds metaphysical, guru, fortune teller stuff, but I swear this couple pushed a powerful aura of energy down the sidewalk ahead of them.

They too were synced in stride and though they didn't speak, these guys also had a power, but it was more of a quiet energy.  Notice how physically close they are and how she not only clutches his arm, but how her other hand holds his and he clutches it back?  As with folks in other shots in this post, she looks down & away from him, but I got the feeling it was to exclude the world and be even closer to him.  What an entirely different picture two downward glances can portray. 

Focus, touch, smiles-  joyfully connected.  This couple talked with one another the entire way down the sidewalk.  I felt like they were really enjoying a night out on the town and that they really, really fed off one another's company.

Cahoots - they seemed to be in cahoots.  Perhaps scheming their next adventure, they discussed their plans or schemes or maybe just their choice of pub.  Regardless, they were connected through mutual focus.

A couple of different connections going on in this one... The one guy was laser focused on his compatriot.  He seemed to be be both physically and metaphorically looking up to him.  But secondarily, there was another connection - this one both on and off camera.  The woman was laser focused too, but her's was completely on myself as the photographer.  

So for the photographer, at least this one, it's not just the mechanics of choosing ISO, aperture, light, lens.  It's not just a matter of understanding the relationship between these technical selections to optimize the photographic output.  

The scenes we record have an impact.  We usually think of that impact on the viewer, the participant, the subject or the consumer of the photographs.  But photos also have an impact on the photographer.  I remember many of these people passing my spot and these photos help me remember their connectedness and their impact on myself.