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Location: Midwest, United States

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Trust Only...

Trust only an infant’s face to reveal truths about the emotions borne inside. Only an infant’s face. A face too young and unblemished to allow subterfuge.

I believe that’s why we feel so connected with infants. Their faces are the only unclouded windows to the human soul available. And, sadly, this most beautiful window disappears soon enough.

Sometimes it doesn’t even take all that long. There are children all over this hardscrabble planet whose faces have been rendered blank slates. Too many privations, too much suffering replicated and multiplied over just a few years can paralyze the face forever.

It takes a lot longer for most of us, but it’s guaranteed that time and experience will alter our visage. We are fated to end up with masks in one way or another. Some faces are evidence of a soft life but provide no evidence whatsoever of what was gained or lost over the course of a luxurious existence. Some faces scream of a hard life, obscuring the tenderness that may be glowing within. We really can’t tell much about the soul of an individual behind the aged mask.

And that’s a pity.

* * *

I’ve been mulling these notions ever since I bought my digital camera and snapped a quick series of photos of myself. I was, frankly, taken aback by the pursed lips and drawn face. My face no longer reflected my state of mind at all. What stunned me was that my face was now more an artifact/representation of all the stresses, losses, pain and despair of the last few years. While the healing has long begun, the face seems frozen in time...the hardest of the hard times.

That saddens me.

You can see it in my face.

* * *


Blogger Kass said...

Who is that dear child? Did you snap this with your digital camera? I'll never forget seeing the difference in my childrens faces after serious illnesses. There was a notable loss of innocence in their wee little faces.

Tue Dec 08, 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger RNSANE said...

What a beautiful photograph! You are so right, an infant speaks the truth or, rather, shows it in his face ot bellows it or breaks into a beaming toothless grin.

We acquire all the skills of concealment as we move through life. It is sad, really.

Tue Dec 08, 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger Woman in a Window said...

ummm, jonas, the face doesn't tell it all. not at all. even for those infants. a lot of it's a rouse, or projection.

i was walking around town today and i looked a mess! Really. i had on my big winter boots, my mangy wool sweater, my hair was a wreck, and you know, i bet i looked the part as well, but in that light moment, i have never felt more beautiful. Trust me when i tell you, i am most likely known as the town nut (amongst other things) but for a few moments i felt beautiful. Who is to say otherwise? I'll not listen.

Stow the camera. You're beautiful.


Tue Dec 08, 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Oh, how I wish I had the eye, the talent or the manual dexterity to photograph like that! No, Kass, I'm merely a beggar, borrower and stealer of imagery better than I could ever conjure.

Beauty will forever be found in the eye of the beholder. You have the most inclusive eyes imaginable, Erin. Bless you for that.

Truth be told, other eyes are more adept at finding the flaws.

Tue Dec 08, 09:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have some patients who look much older than their years, life has been hard and it is written on their faces. But I also have other patients who have had difficult lives and still their faces shine. I prefer to shine myself, doesn't always work, some days I can feel the sadness on my face and wonder if others can see it as well. I'm sure they can, I don't have a poker face, all that I feel flits across my face. But there are many days that I can feel light shining on my face. I like those days, my smiles are real those days and my eyes sparkle. It's just life.

Tue Dec 08, 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Shine on, Deb! I hope you do!!! Would that all of us could beam brightly.

Hope springs eternal.

Tue Dec 08, 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Personally, I think photos taken when you are not aware of the camera do a much better job at revealing the inner self.

Capturing a moment, an emotion, a happenstance glance really lets the inner magic shine.

The eyes show the truth of a person... even when the face is hard and weathered, pinched and creased, the eyes can blaze forth with such joyous intensity that all who meet that gaze know a wondrous soul resides within.

You're a beautiful man, Jonas, inside and out.

Wed Dec 09, 01:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are are harshest critics, aren't we? I don't see a war-weary man in that photo...not at all. I see multitudes of things...but they don't concur with what you you may not agree. Let someone else take a photo of you (or set up a tripod) when you're out on one of your long walks or out with friends lapping up good wine and better conversations...and see what shows up then. I challenge you!

Wed Dec 09, 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger secret agent woman said...

Not to be cynical, but I think we respond to infants because we are hard-wired to do so. They need constant attending to if they are going to survive. AND infants are extraordinarily attentive and responsive to the face looking at them. In fact, if you mirror a baby's distressed face with a look of distress, and then change to a hpapier expression, they will often change with you. (Not, interestingly, if you just start with a big smile - they seem to recognize the lack of empathy.)

And, finally, I don't think we generally catch ourselves as we really look in photos we take ourselves. It's virtaully inpossible ot to be self-conscious in those moments. That's why I liked that portrait of myself I posted some time back (you know, the one you criticized because I wasn't smiling?) - it was completely unguarded since I didn't know it was being taken. Pensive but not sad. Me.

Wed Dec 09, 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger rebecca said...

I may be in the minority but I like a face that shows the creases and weathering of life. I don't think we should ever be afraid to show our life's experiences...that is who we are. And your picture is not bad at all, dear Sir. Love the long hair....

Wed Dec 16, 09:04:00 AM  

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