Uzbekistan - a portrait heaven

In Uzbekistan you can ask to take a photograph of a stranger and then be thanked for it by the same stranger. Where people ask (if not insist) you take a picture of them alone or with their friends and family. Where, without being asked, parents offer their children to be photographed without a cloud of suspicion and paranoia that the image might be misused on the Internet. Always smiling and always excited. 

It is a portrait heaven, a very friendly place, uninhibited, full of beauty and positivity. This makes a welcome difference to the Western world full of scepticism caused by the abuse of privacy. It is dominated by portraits taken from behind, from the hip or in secret. In Uzbekistan, you can actually look people in their face and receive a smile.

 

 The elders of Kiva

The elders of Kiva

 Samarkand girls racing to the window to get on the shot

Samarkand girls racing to the window to get on the shot

 A dress maker posing with her work

A dress maker posing with her work

 Uzbek soldiers on a Friday break

Uzbek soldiers on a Friday break

 Angels parked outside a ...fish restaurant in Kyzylkum desert

Angels parked outside a ...fish restaurant in Kyzylkum desert

 A funeral party in Tashkent 

A funeral party in Tashkent 

 Mid day prayers in Samarkand

Mid day prayers in Samarkand

 'Highway services' for family tea break & other travellers welcomed to join

'Highway services' for family tea break & other travellers welcomed to join

 Old Bukhara girl

Old Bukhara girl

 Selling water

Selling water

 Pilgrims

Pilgrims

 Uber driver at the local market

Uber driver at the local market

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Arizona sky

There is something special about the sky in Arizona...

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...with the sun high up and clusters of white heavy fluffy clouds, the white and the deep blue, the parts of clouds reflecting sunlight, the earthiness of the earth and the airiness of the sky.

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It is where the earth shows off its best shades of reds, golds, and blues and every time you think you have seen every possible color combination it surprises you again and again.

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It is a photographic paradise. Arizona owns her sky and if she could sell it to photographers she would make a fortune.

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Angles

Even if the road is completely straight and empty it is impossible to control the car. But, if you were sitting up-side-down behind the steering wheel, you could control its direction with no problem. That this is because our brain feels most comfortably in the level position. Our nervous system incl. eyes, inner ears and brain create sense of balance so we can walk without falling.

This is why when we are about to take a photo our first reaction is to make sure the picture in the viewfinder is level and we get everything we want - that it is composed nicely and our brain feels comfortable.

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Some people deliberately ‘spoil’ the picture by tilting their camera to make it more interesting. But most of us feel uneasy because it is a bit of a risk, because it is unnatural. We push aside the thought that the results can be quite amazing.

A medium size film and 12 frames setting is very useful in such situations. You end up photographing much wider view than you think and when you give your film for development you should instruct the lab NOT to crop your pictures. Everything in the exposed field is important, esp. if the main subject ended up on the edge.

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Going against nature – viewing the photo

The results surprised me.  An experienced photographer commented on one of the pictures saying it made him fell dizzy but very intrigued and he loved it. I hope he didn’t smoke a dope looking at it at the same time and the comment was genuine.

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Again, this is our brain that expects to see things straight and gets confused when looking at a photo taken with an angle. It is trying to correct the view. It is interacting more with the picture. The viewer is engaged and the photo feels more interesting regardless if creates positive or negative impression it conveys.  It makes you think.

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