Eyes Hidden – Common Photo Themes


Nothing is more emotive in a still shot than a person’s face.  The muscles in the face can only make subtle changes, but those subtle differences speak volumes.  As photographers, we are so often focused on the most emotive part of the face: The Eyes.  But the eyes aren’t the whole story, and you’d be surprised how much can be told with just the lower portion of the face.  To illustrate that fact, we’ve collected photos that shield the eyes.

What Love Is by Bridge Sabordo

"What Love Is" by Bridge Sabordo

“What Love Is” by Bridge Sabordo

Love is an emotion shared so many ways.  But a subtle smile tucked behind a rose tells the story well enough.  Interestingly, the rose looks like it’s suffering…so perhaps that is a bit of an evil smile?  Like Fatal Attraction style love?  Maybe I”m reading too much into it.  Anyhow, the smile and the expression without the eyes can pull you in.  And the story is spun.  The photograph is called What Love Is, and it was created by Bridge Sabordo.

Happy New Year! by Valentina Calà

"Happy New Year!"  by Valentina Calà

“Happy New Year!” by Valentina Calà

Beauty isn’t always something entirely tangible.  Sometimes beauty is expressed in emotions of the moment.  Happy New Year! by Valentina Calà illustrates a beautiful moment surrounding the New Year celebration.  A wish, a gesture and a whole sentiment portrayed again without the use of the eyes.  Powerful.

Glow by Christoph Hetzmannseder

"Glow" by Christoph Hetzmannseder

“Glow” by Christoph Hetzmannseder

Sincerity is an emotion told with the eyes.  Attitude is expressed through the mouth.  The lips can be pursed or parted in just such a way to emote passion, anger, confidence and so on.  Once again, the eyes are hidden, but I do feel this is a man I might not want to cross.  The photo, Glowis by Christoph Hetzmannseder.

Exclusion by Rachel Melton

"Exclusion" by Rachel Melton

“Exclusion” by Rachel Melton

Even a face devoid of expression and emotion still tells us a great deal about our subject.  Youth is one thing that cannot be hidden away from the face.  Rachel Melton‘s photo, Exclusion, makes short work of figuring out the relative age of this child.  Perhaps age isn’t always so painfully obvious.  But having a rough idea of the age of our subject will change our feeling of the image as a whole.

Try A Little Tenderness by Amanda J. Cain

"Try A Little Tenderness" by Amanda J. Cain

“Try A Little Tenderness” by Amanda J. Cain

The one eye is trying to peek out, but that’s not going to spoil our fun.  Try A Little Tendernessa photograph by Amanda J. Cain, is a bit of a blend of all that we’ve learned from all of the great images above.  There is enough of an expression to tell us that the subject is confident and patient.  The subject is an adult, but the features are soft:  She is trustworthy and caring.  And though we might be cheating a tiny bit, any context can be used to understand our subject as well.  The billowing ruffle (a scarf perhaps?) about the neck, the tailored coat, earring and the coarse woven fedora is indicative of her style. And the gesture of her left hand speaks of her graceful and reverent manner.  There is a lot that can be garnered from this simple photograph; you can learn a lot about the subject even without words.  Incidentally, the photo is a self portrait; so you’ve learned a lot about Amanda J. Cain as well.




About Author

D. Travis North is a professional Landscape Architect, a Freelance Photographer and founder of Shutter Photo. Ever since he picked up his first SLR, his father's Nikon N2000, he's been hooked on photography. Travis likes to photograph urban environments, architectural details and has a new-found interest in close-up photography. His work can be found at D. Travis North Photography. Follow Travis on twitter: @dtnorth.

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