These pictures are from my photographer friend, Forti. They are from his "Beautiful Filipina" series.
He has not taken any formal photography lessons. He does not have to. He does not take pictures with his camera. He takes them with his heart. When you look at his pictures, you don't see "subjects", you see real people with real lives. Their eyes tell their stories. And Forti's photographs do not just make us look. They make us listen to those stories.
The first picture makes me mad. A girl that young should not have eyes that old. She seems to have seen and experienced more than anyone that age should have. I worry about what might happen to her.
The second picture makes me uneasy. The old woman’s eyes are hard and unflinching. She seems to have gone through countless tragedies and hardships in her life . She sees nothing but more of the same for the rest of her life. But she will survive. Because that is what she does. Perhaps this is what the girl in the first picture will look like after 70 years. But, then again considering other possibilities, only if the girl is lucky.
The third picture is of a family living off the streets. The children’s eyes do not yet seem to have lost their innocence. It makes me wonder how far their mother’s love can keep the innocence there.
The fourth picture makes me uncomfortable There are too many contradictions going on in the image. The squalor and waste of the surroundings against the freshness of the flower; the youth of the girl against the worldliness of her gaze and pose. Everything co-exists in the picture but, in my mind, there is something that is not right.
The fifth picture makes me smile. It seems familiar. I see a hint of innocence remaining in the woman’s eyes. She has known much love in her life and remains secure in the care and protection of her family. This is how we would like our mothers and grandmothers to look like.