Posted by on February 29, 2012  Add comments
Feb 292012
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Verklempt (adj): choked with emotion. You know that moment in a conversation when the subject matter edges the emotional boundary that you wish it wouldn’t? Your throat constricts just slightly making you swallow hard, take a deep breath and hope the other conversant doesn’t notice the pause. It sometimes helps to look away, blink rapidly and pretend you have something in your eye to explain away the tears. This is that exact moment: the first intake of air, the first uncontrollable look upward, the first tear. To her credit, Emma did not feign an ocular irritant. She quite candidly let her emotions run their course in front of my camera. I was honored that she allowed herself to travel in this unexpected direction during our photo shoot. Emma is a work colleague and her full story is not mine to tell. The gist of it is that she is leaving work and New Zealand to pursue a longstanding desire to travel. The emotion came from the corresponding separation from an 11 year partnership. At work, Emma is 100% smiles and she genuinely radiates happiness; that is why the tears caught me off guard. But they are an honest snapshot of where she is at this point in her life, laughing in one moment and openly grieving a difficult decision in the next. I have shown a full range of images from that Thursday night session to other workmates who know Emma and also to people who have never met her: the gorgeous smiling portraits, the fun world in my hands setups and the candid mid-laugh surprises. The raw power of her sorrow in this and one or two other fleeting moments universally brings people to pause, empathize and engage.

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  One Response to “Verklempt”

  1. I think this is one of those images that convey the power a photographer has, to capture a moment that truly does cause the viewer to pause, empathise and engage. On my first viewing I immediately knew this person was in distress but couldn’t have told you why, it wasn’t until I had let my eye rove over the image and found the tear in the corner of her eye that I recognised that feeling you have expressed. Yes we all know it and you have powerfully captured it for us.

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