This is undoubtedly the most tender portrait I've ever captured.* I had originally sat down on a bench to finish a chapter of "Treblinka" before heading off to work when a flurry of bright tropical colors came into my peripheral vision. I looked up, and saw two beautiful beings. The mother was obviously pregnant and looked stunning while she stood with her daughter in matching dresses. It seemed as though they were waiting for someone, so I immediately put down the grim novel and braced myself to ask the usual, "May I take your photograph?" before the other company showed.
Of course it was already too late. Two men came to collect some of their belongings, and my-oh-my what belongings they had! There was a huge bundle of items, and it was only after I heard the family speaking in a different language that I saw most of it was foreign food stuffs. The two men strode off with only a small helping of the items.
I sat back down again and contemplated what I should do. Here is a pregnant mother with her daughter, temporarily alone in a new country, speaking a completely different language. How would she react if I asked her for a photograph? "Oh, yes, I am a stranger and all, but I think you and your daughter look lovely and I just want one photograph! It's a for a blog, for a local paper..." Yeah, I don't think so. I wasn't even sure if she would have understood me completely.
I couldn't let this one slip up though. They were too wonderful together. I kept imagining different poses of the mother standing, showing off her pronounced tummy and her beautiful little daughter. I was busy thinking of that when suddenly the little one began to get a bit, shall we say, impatient and started to toddle around on her little feet (I would have grown impatient too if I had to wait for all of that stuff to be moved when I could have been swimming in the ocean). Then the mother bent down to grab the little one gently and held her protectively with the intention of calming her. Click.
It seems to have worked too. The expression on the daughter is of pure placidity and gentleness, reflecting the mother's own maternal expression. It is all sifted into trust and patience in the end. The way she holds her daughter, and the way her daughter responds, indicates a strong bond, personal, resplendent, natural. It wouldn't matter if they were dressed in rags; that strong connection would still radiate off of them. The matching dresses are a nice touch, though.
*I've posted two runner up photos below.