I chose to photograph these three women because they were so far out of the Starbucks norm and I wanted to know the reason for their dramatic get-up. After learning the reason, and even knowing more about the woman on the left because she handed me her business card, I am still drawn in by these three faces.
The small details are the reason I love this photo. When I look at it I see the white faces, of course, but I also see the shadows under the first woman’s eyes. I see the way she crosses her hands on her lap, as if protecting herself from the flash of my camera. I see a seeming sorrow in her eyes stark beside the mischievous, seductive look from the middle woman. This second character’s piercings glisten. I want to know how long it took her to stretch her ears and if her hair is dyed with henna or chemicals. I want to know why she chose a dodo to be a part of herself, tattooed on her arm. The last woman spoke the most in the time that I had with this small group, and was the one to give me her business card. She is the most theatrically dressed and the lines on her cap and stockings draw my eye. She leans forward, ready to leave or maybe just ready for anything.
Mostly, I am left with questions.
I hope some of the queries that you have when you look at this image can be answered by visiting the last woman’s website. Her name is Clody Cates and she is an artist based in Oakland. Her website is here.
Words and portrait by Miranda Hollingswood