I daresay that when I finally had the dosh to get myself a real camera, all those years ago, I wanted to make pictures like this: of someone drawing the light around herself with such magnetism that mundane objects are lifted on that glamour, time stops, and I find myself wanting to go and ask her what she’s thinking about (I didn’t though; repose is so rare in public spaces).
I may have made two, including this one, in all the years I’ve been shooting, and both have been on trains.
Like it is in a lot of the world, it’s harder to shoot pictures of women than men here in Colombo. Many of the younger men have courted the attention of this photographer by posing and doing funny things when they see the tourist camera pointed at them, but the women I’ve encountered are much shyer – quite a few will cover their face with their hand if they don’t manage to avoid the camera.
I get this. I am the same.
So I always find myself fighting a particular reluctance to intrude on other woman by photographing them, but I’d hopped aboard and was so arrested by this particular scene, I snapped three frames off from the hip before really thinking about it. Two were motion-blurred to hell owing to the sway of the ancient carriage and too long an exposure from passing shadows. This one came out just right.
Flemming and I have been in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, for a month now. Colombo’s railway has been the focus of much of our time here. There’s more to come.