What We Capture

Downtown Puebla.

Camera hung on on my neck.

I reached for my camera as I saw the singularity of miscellaneous items at the stand across the street from me.

I stopped to capture something that reminded me of the childhood juegos with my sister when we pretended to have a store of our own; one we built with Dad’s construction supplies in the yard and the random food items found inside the kitchen cabinets.

Bagged tostadas and totopos hung in the air below the trapeze made of a wooden stick and metal wire. A single lightbulb hung from the wood construction on top, the one that held the fan perfectly centered. Random wooden items balanced on top of each other to construct the stand to the left—candy towards the bottom and Marlboro cigarettes to the top. Blue barriles stood out behind. A dusty bike leaned on the metal counter, a delivery bike, perhaps. Plastic cilindric containers made columns above the green picnic sheet.

As I took a moment to seize a scene reminiscent of my youth, I was captured by something else. As I peaked through the viewer of my camera, it was his smile that surprised me; like bumping into someone while in your own world walking and staring at the floor—unexpected.

I could not help but smile back; a moment that illustrated human reaction of mirrored action, pleasantly contagious. I had walked as if I floated around, a hidden stranger in the city capturing what I chose. And here we shared a smile as I intended to adjust the ISO, the shutter speed and f-stop. In the image, the part in the shade came out a bit dark; I could not take up more time to change the settings, I was thrown off by laughter. No longer was I taking a picture of the scene, I was taking his picture. I kept on walking and I pleasantly accepted the smile.

It is his smile that is illuminates the photograph what makes this scene more than a childhood remembrance, more than an ambient documentation of downtown Puebla. It is the smile that revives on my face when I contemplate this image. It is the emotion evoked through the experience what we continue to live through our memory; the moments we share with complete strangers that testify we are everything but worlds apart.

Rosa Angélica

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