It’s the eyes. If there is a “place” in the human face or body that the essence of a person cannot be fully disguised, it’s the eyes. In a world where nothing is real this is the only “detector” of truth. The eye truth recognition system... The secret is that the eyes speak straight to the heart, not to the mind. They generate an immediate, very often, bodily reaction.
I fist realized this when I came across one photo of Sri Anandamayi Ma. She was -and still is- considered one of the most enlightened persons in India and one of the most beloved and celebrated saints during her life and after her death. People who have been in her presence say that the sweetness, the kindness, the divine bliss was like a sweet perfume, a warm wave of energy that surrounded all. One of the names she has been given was “Mother of Bliss”. They are many things to be said about her and the inspiration that her life, her words and her all encompassing love gave to many people throughout the world. But in the end, also nothing. Because you can read and you can read and you can learn about someone if you are not lucky enough to have met them, but what remains is what is perceived by the heart. There are many photos of Sri Anandamayi Ma, but in the ones that she is looking straight in the lens, the image becomes transcendental. It’s not only that her penetrating gaze looks deep inside you, it’s the kindness and the love in her eyes... Total and complete. And if you see this there is no doubt. Someone loves you. The power of such a realization, which, usually and mercifully, comes in the moments of great need is overwhelming and universal.
So, I guess, in this way, photography cannot only be an art form of distortion of reality -which of course is fine, because... what is real, anyway?- but also a medium of truth. And this is it’s highest form, in my opinion. And I am not only talking about documentary photography, which relies greatly to the skills, capacity and mastery of the photographer, but also for those lucky moments that you happen to hold a camera in your hand and having just met a sweet and kind person, you photograph them... because that’s what you do... And then you see the love, the warmth and kindness of the eyes in the photos. A truth captured. A great and comforting moment, no doubt.