In the words of Alfred Stieglitz, an influential American photographer, “In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality,” Though pictures represent bygone moments in time, they become extant through one’s own memories. The picture offers a subtle reality through its manifestation of all five human senses thus allowing the audience to vicariously experience the moment captured. Of the thousands of photographs taken by my family and I, there is one that I would call my favorite.
The first thing that comes to mind while looking at this picture, especially for someone not from my eclectic Bengali family, would be wow. The amalgam of colors, faces and personalities may be overwhelming to look at for some but for me, the beauty lies within the chaos. All the family members are situated side-by-side in a long line atop a short wall of bricks. Though the group is predominantly under the cool shade provided by nearby trees and shrubs, rays of sunlight penetrate through a few sparse leaves and reflect off a few faces and bodies. The camera is about twenty feet away from our family and yet each personality is clearly prominent. I could see my dad’s playful behavior as he tries to cover my cousin’s face with his baseball cap; my grandmother’s old Bollywood flair is depicted in her not looking straight at the camera but at the fountain to her right; my cousin’s grouchy attitude is shown in his scowl; and my mother’s inherent desire to look as thin as she did in her teen years is apparent in her curve conscious pose. But focusing on the entire picture rather than a single person reveals that the entire group, regardless of their situation, was simply happy at that moment in time. The bold smiles, sparkling eyes and lighthearted ambience fall nothing short of joy and delight.
We were all in Niagara Falls, Canada that week to celebrate the Islamic holiday of Eid and to come together as one whole group before the school year...
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