April 26, 2010

Farmer's Mother (By Request I)


"She's 84" said my guide as we pulled away from the farm. We were standing in the bed of a pick-up. I was waving goodbye, and certain I had some good photos from the last ten minutes. Her being 84 was a nice detail and impressed me as much as it did my guide.

We had ended up on this coffee farm because it's owned by one of the Las Hermanas co-op members. (Peet's sells their coffee under that name. Keep an eye out for it). I made the required pictures of the younger woman but there were so many other things catching my eye. Fantastic textures, a farmhand with his machete, and her, this wonderful, quiet, smiling old woman whose face was lined with life. She was tending the fire within the typical, dark, country kitchen with its wood-burning mud stove and I simply asked her to pose and started shooting. After a moment of requisite seriousness, she began to laugh. (Some of those photos are elsewhere in my Flickr stream).

After making those initial formal portraits, I allowed things to settle down and she found a seat at the kitchen table. I could see the light coming from either side of the room, her hands gently placed on the table, the colors of the wall behind, and knew there were more pictures to be made.

I have no other purpose but to make pictures so kneeling down and exploring a scene may seem odd to my hosts but for me, it's what I do. I raised the camera up and shot down on her hands. I played with focus. I just allowed her to sit quietly and did my thing. I'm glad they've been so well received.

Make pictures.

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