Thursday, 9 June 2011

Modern Islam

Islamic dress for women need not always be severe and black. This young woman shows how easy it is to look fashionable as well as respectful to her religion. Even pictured in black and white ...
Nikon D90 + 18-200mm Natural light.

This smiling picture got me thinking as to why it is that 'artistic' pictures rarely show a full-on smile. No teeth from the Mono Lisa for instance. And I also very rarely encourage a person sitting for me to smile. A hint of a smile perhaps, but no more. Is a ready smile just too common? Does it lack depth of emotion? My own feeling is that there is no ambiguity in a full on smile. It's a smile. There is nothing else to contemplate upon when viewing the person illustrated. We cannot infer anything other than a happy smile. Therefor it's uninteresting to view for more than a second. So we move onto something more unsure, more interesting. I posed this very question to a photography art site in a tongue-in-cheek way. 

Having just waded through 41 pages of 1x portraits, I'm struck by the lack of teeth on display ... 

I would have continued, but the unstoppable waves of angst-ridden, manic-depressive gloom was getting to me. Great swathes of angry or sad, usually weathered and often toothless old men and women admonished me. The pouting beauties cheered me up some I'll admit, but they generally also seemed to have an expression of despondency, aggression or desperate unhappiness etched onto their glorious faces. 

I found my face sagging and, as I looked into a mirror, I could see I was turning into a prime model for a 1x portraitist. I could hire myself out, pay the mortgage perhaps. Slipping into depression, swallowing happy pills and swigging them down valiantly, straight from the bottle of a 10 year old malt whisky kept for dire emergencies, I struggled on. But no, the only smiles to be found were from children, three shots to be precise, one even showing his teeth! And they were the only ones I found - except for one other, a child grinning maniacally showing off his teeth in ghastly braces. 

So there you have it, a few half-smiles, some winsome looks, but not one real in-your-face-flashing-teeth-honest-to-God-smile. So I submitted one to the screeners. And yes, I think I can hear them, like the un-dead exposed to sunlight, there's a shrill wailing, a building scream ... Suddenly I'm smiling!

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