I Shutter When I See You: Foreign field, Familiar folk

Foreign field familiar folk
*Shows me that her identical dogs can walk on their hind legs*

in Cíhújìniàndiāosù Park, near the Dasi township in Taiwan.

I discovered that pointing at a camera and raising your eyebrows can catapult you over the language barrier. I was often on the receiving end of those gestures in my nine day trip to Taiwan (with a group from my school). Blonde and white is interesting to these people because it is foreign and unknown. I guess everyone likes photographing people that catch their eye. But that’s enough of that, let’s get to my subject!

As I ate lunch with my friends and enjoyed the scenery, this woman looked at us silently. I always relate to the observer: the one that sits quietly and drinks in their surroundings may know more than the person that just does-does-does. I’m sure I say that because I am an observer myself. My camera always at my side.

She had a youthful quality to her and was willing to let me have some much-missed puppy-love from her dogs, without a single word understood between us. This experience definitely mirrors my experience of the country’s people, whether in the city of Taipei, or the country. Every single person I met was more welcoming, giving, and happy than any Americans I have ever met. We are often so wary of “the stranger” in America. After my trip, I have been wanting to find another word for my portraits of humans: all of us are less strange, less foreign than we might assume. Spread the love, hug someone’s dog today.

If you would like to know anything specific about my trip to Taiwan or this portrait, head right down to the comments and throw your questions my way. You can see other photos from my trip on my personal Instagram: wise_it_so, and my 365 Instagram: mh365

A self-portrait inspired by this stranger, coming soon!!

Portrait and words by Miranda Hollingswood

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