23 November 2008

Bishnoi man near Jodhpur (2)

Bishnoi man near Jodhpur
Another man from the Bishnoi family; same place, same time, same difficult light.

All content © 2008 Pete McGregor


Emma said...

Good job with the lighting. I never get tired of marveling at the sameness of human emotion.

pohanginapete said...

Emma, true. This man seemed genuinely happy to greet us. However, sometimes the expression of emotions can be disconcertingly unfamiliar — in places like Estonia, for example, the stony face is often not an indication of aloofness or unfriendliness, but simply a cultural attribute; excessive smiling can be seen as superficial or even a pretense.

Emma said...

A good point, Pete -- of course I come from the smiliest region of a pretty smily country so I tend to assume, when I am away from my little corner, that people will be a lot more stony-faced. And to be fair, there is a difference between smiling because it's expected of you and doing it because you're genuinely moved to; that's what transcends, I think.

Relatively Retiring said...

Another lovely portrait, and the cultural significance of the smile is interesting. To get a casual smile from a Russian is a rare achievement, but the absence of the smile does not imply unfriendliness, rather a sort of respect.

Zhoen said...

I feel the same way about excessive smiling - it means nothing when it's too easy. I have to smile much more than I would like to because that is the norm here.

pohanginapete said...

Emma, I remember reading something a while ago about how smiles differ — a study showed viewers of photographs of smiling faces could distinguish a US smile from a British smile (I might have got that wrong, but it was something like that). If it's that nuanced, I'm sure other characteristics in real life (gestures, intonation, etc.) make it fairly easy to identify forced from genuine smiles. Of course, the adept con artists will often manage to get away with it (apologies for my lapse into cynicism).

RR, thank you. I admit to struggling with the respectful non-smile in Russia. I'm sure many people I met there thought I was disrespectful ;^) Other things made up for that challenge, though.

Zhoen, that must wear you down. And cultivated or excessive smiling cheapens it, which I think is one of the saddest things about the overuse of smiling.