My aunt recently pointed out to me that the only portraits I have shared from Indonesia were of men - and she was right! It had never even occurred to me until she said something. So I dug through the rest of my photos and found this one that I've been meaning to share. When I approached this woman and asked permission to take her photo, she was extremely shy and I was certain she was going to say no. But miraculously she accepted and I happily began taking photos of her. Unfortunately, the first photos I took turned out okay, but not great. Her nerves caused her to practically squirm away from the camera and her discomfort was obvious in person and in the photos. Just as I was preparing to stow away my camera with the intention of putting her out of her misery, she reached down, picked up the bundle of produce she was selling, and hugged it in close. And as she did, she just sort of settled into this calm, natural, peaceful pose - almost as if the produce gave her the comfort and confidence she needed. And I still remember the feeling when it happened - like this tiny blast of electricity that hit me in the chest for a split second and then was gone. I saw, in real time, her entire disposition change - almost as if the nerves that she had been feeling passed directly through the camera and bounced off of me instead. It was the first time I'd experienced something like that while photographing someone and I'll likely remember it for the rest of my life.
"A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it."