Going to church…
While in Maramures, Romania I visited a church on a Sunday. The service was heavily attended as it was “Rising of the Cross” day. It was also the last Sunday before some of the youth left for other areas to go to school. Many children stay with grandparents in the country on extended breaks and head back to the cities when school is in session.
I walked to the service and got there early as parishioners meandered in. I prefer the photography before and after where people are mingling, interacting, and greeting each other over the service itself. The fear is always how the locals will perceive you. One wrong look or one click of the shutter at the wrong person and your chances of getting inside can diminish. I try to be a fly on the wall and not get in the way of anyone. I find that it also helps me to smile and make eye contact often.
The women and girls were dressed for church in gorgeous colorful skirts and oftentimes head scarves that matched. It reminded me of the colors of India but in Romania! My eyes and smile gazed upon this wonderful little girl waiting in the doorway of the church. She countered my eyes with big beautiful blue eyes filled with sincerity. Her smile was so honest and open that it silently reassured me that in this community everything was going to be just fine. She happily obliged when I motioned if I could take her photo.
In any situation I photograph my goal is to simplify what I see to its most basic form. When someone views the photograph I want it to convey exactly what it felt like to be standing in that particular location at that given time. This sweet little girl did that and more.