a Photographic Journey by Meryl


How many times have we been misunderstood? How often have others mistaken the outside for the inside?

When I spotted this woman in the flower market in Antigua, Guatemala. the urge to take her photograph overtook me. Why? There was no time to explore why? I go by instinct when photographing. In daily life, recovery has taught me to stop and think before taking action, but when photographing people on the street, there’s little time for that. So I approached her slowly, step by step, trying to remain invisible—that’s important to sustain and capture a moment.

But with this woman, there was no chance of staying invisible. She, too, saw me right away. And wanted something as well, money. So I gave her a few coins and started shooting. Then she asked for more. When I didn’t hand it over, she grew angry—this was the moment I savor the most. Her defiance, her anger. So true, so genuine…

Since I speak just basic Spanish, I couldn’t tell her that I wasn’t the woman she saw on the surface. That she shouldn’t confuse my outside for my inside. That she needn’t envy me for my smooth skin, new clothes, expensive camera—my material world. That I was photographing her because I wanted to savor her spirit, her strength and her fierce sense of pride. That most women to the north needn’t worry about food, shelter, clothing, but they scrounge for other things. Vital things like their souls and their selves.

She completely misunderstood.

Click on Misunderstood to see image

 ©Meryl Spiegel 2012–All rights reserved–No reproduction without permission.

6 responses

  1. Very good post, you can always find something good in your blog. thanks

    April 25, 2012 at 11:46 am

    • Thank you, Carlos….I feel the same way about yours….but I miss your quotes…:)

      April 25, 2012 at 12:18 pm

  2. Great post, Meryl!

    April 27, 2012 at 9:20 am

    • recoverythrumylens

      Thank you Malou! Nice for you to say so…

      April 27, 2012 at 10:02 am

  3. Just got to read this linked page! So interesting to learn of your interaction with this woman. The “misunderstanding” is a metaphor for so much of what goes on in our world and even day to day interactions between people. Terrific and thought-provoking post! Thanks so much for sharing:)

    April 27, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    • Yes, so much of our intention is misunderstood….wish there was another way for us humans….telepathy?

      April 28, 2012 at 9:30 am

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