Personal Documentary Photography
Her gaze fixes,
Like water for chocolate
Am I without you ?
Who are you and what do you want.
A leave blows in the wind. —Sanpanza de Los Vientos
The seed of these pictures was planted in Mexico many years ago, when a small boy, startled me with a still gaze. He stood like a wall in front of me and said, "Who are you and what do you want?". After several uncomfortable moments of averting his gaze I gave him some answer that satisfied neither of us.
Some time afterwards with more miles and maturity to my credit I came to understand that the boy merely reflected my angst back to me. I also understood that anytime we meet someone, one way or another, we ask the same questions: "Who are you and what do you want?" And until those questions are answered no relationship is possible. We also ask ourselves these same questions throughout our lives at various stages and at varying degrees, and no one reaches real maturity without asking those questions.
The next time I recognized the same unaffected gaze was in Santa Cruz, Oaxaca where the Indian population had gathered to celebrate the first communion of some of its children. There I was with bushel of unassuming, un-affected gazes falling on me; the only stranger.
So I began to photograph one frame at a time with a painful anxiety that this opportunity would disappear, that someone would yell at me, " Hey you stop that!" or that every time I made a picture one of the girls would complain or run from me and their magic would disappear. None did. Click, push the shutter release, click, sweat. "Just one more God, just one more." Click! When it was over a priest came to me and asked, "Who are and what do you want?"
Because of my background as a photojournalist I seek the narrative in things, consequently my work is about the internal life of people and things. On a deeper level I seek in them, as a Zen monk put it, "the face you were born with"; a moment of the unassuming authenticity that transcends the timeliness and self consciousness of our existence.
Many artists work is narcissistic in nature. It is about their style and who they are. In my personal work I seek primarily to see who my subjects are; even in my commercial work (www.carreonphotography.com).
I see with only one eye, so when I work as commercial photographer or am shooting for myself in Mexico, I am seeking the unexpected, a moment, a whisper from inside.