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January 19, 2011

©Silva Erglis 2011

After watching the video of Platon’s experience photographing Aung San Suu Kyi I decided to peruse his web site and take a look at his other amazing portraits. While I was viewing his movie portraits I realized I was spending more time looking at the individuals possessing more lined faces; perhaps it is his superb lighting that brought it to my attention or perhaps I have always been drawn to a wrinkled face and I’m just coming to appreciate it now. There are stories to be told by the lines written on peoples faces from years of making the most subtle to most outrageous of expressions. I find it’s always easy to tell if someone has had a happy life, the crisscrossing lines at the outside corners of the eyes give it all away, however there can also be deep sadness hidden in the corners.

As a photographer there is an obligation or perhaps expectation that we will take all those fine lines out and give our subjects perfect skin in every single shot; well not only does that take a great deal of time but, in my opinion it encroaches on another persons life, we cannot take the experiences from someone, why should we take the authentication of those experiences away. There is a fine line of when to open photoshop and get out the clone tool and when to leave the subject in their natural state. When photographing true portraiture I always try to capture the character of a person, much like Yousuf Karsh, whom I believe is one of the best at doing this, and since our wrinkles are a map of our past and an inevitable part of our future they are an element of who we are in the present. Take a look at this portrait and read the lines, try to look past the shadows, highlights and varying tones of gray to see what formed those creases and what kind of human they have made him. It’s all there, written in the lines, and like a good novel you have to read the lines to get a true understanding of what is in between them.

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