New York (c) Ilan Witteberg (c) Ilan Wittenberg Faces of Rwanda
Eyes are windows to the Soul
Eyes to the Soul is a captivating collection of portraits of New Zealand women who are humble, courageous and powerful. Each portrait has a personal note, a caption or a quote describing their journey: childhood, adolescence, family, work, challenges, obstacles, ambitions and aspirations. The portfolio offers a rare and intimate moment with incredible women who offer us a glimpse into their lives. The words of these women shed light on memories and events that shaped who they are today. A photograph is worth a thousand words but it takes us less than one tenth of a second to form an opinion about a complete stranger, based only on their looks. Their unique story adds an important third dimension to their striking portrait. The audience gains an intimate and rare insight into their world.At a time when women are often silenced by their male counterparts, I wanted to create a portfolio where I, the photographer, create the portrait, while my subjects tell their intimate personal story. A photograph is worth a thousand words but it takes us less than one tenth of a second to form an opinion about a complete stranger, based only on their looks. Their unique story adds an important third dimension to their striking portrait.The key to a compelling portrait is the eyes. We connect with others through their eyes. I am motivated to engage the viewer and spark connections. Connections that go beyond the fleeting ones which we are subject to on a daily basis. My aim is to capture precious moments where people are in control of the story they wish to share with the world.The combination of using a soft, directional light while adapting a special post-processing technique, enhances their portraits. The use of simple background eliminates distractions so the viewer can focus on their facial expressions. They look directly into the camera so there is always a highlight in their eyes. People often refer to eyes as windows to the soul. The eyes never lie, they show the truth, no matter what face we put on, they reveal our emotional state. Our eyes, just like our body language, give us away, conveying more than we ever can using just words.The women in the collection represent different cultures and backgrounds. This diverse group of women serves as a timely reminder that despite our many differences, we are able to unite as a community through the power of photography. The collection is a celebration of our shared values: individuality, community and unity. The portraits show that we are all wonderfully unique, yet at the same time, we are deeply the same.