I was talking to a very pretty woman: she sat with her hair the colour of slightly burnt cream against the light; behind her shoulder was the back of a couch striped in black and pale orange. What she had to say was — as always — intelligent and animated;yet, god help me, what I thought was “That’s a perfect background. Why didn’t I bring a camera?”
This is, I think, the lasting worth of photography. It makes you — at least me — look at the world as it would be if I weren’t human. My normal order of noticing things about pretty women is
- body shape
- oh is the house on fire?
- adjacent furniture
Obviously, certain clothes and certain suroundings can jump right up the salience but in general that’s how it is. I react like this even to clothes advertisements, which is one reason why they are wasted on me. I always look at eyes, then faces. Only very very much later, if there is absolutely nothing else to read, do I notice what the model is wearing, if anything.
But the camera has no interests in life. It will see without looking at all. Sometimes that way it sees more clearly.