ix
ic tricks, as he did with a group of monks when he
was photographing in Bhutan.
As you spend time with his photographs, you will
notice that in most of them there is direct eye con-
tact between the subject and Rick, and subsequent-
ly, between the subject and you, the viewer. People
in his photographs have a real presence, and you
can experience a feeling of openness and trust on
the part of the person being photographed. Minor
White underscored the importance of rapport and
trust when he wrote, “Creativity with portraits in-
volves the invocation of the state of rapport when
only a camera stands between two people … mu-
tual vulnerability and mutual trust.
The eyes are the “windows of the soul,” as the say-
ing goes. But the eyes are seen in the context of the
face. The many possible expressions of the face,
with its 50 or so muscles, make you realize how
important the instant of clicking the shutter is.
Being able to read those subtle and rapidly chang-
ing expressions and quickly respond to them is es-
sential. For me, Ricks photographs are more than
“Face to Face.” They are also “Eye to Eye.
An interesting aspect of looking at his photo-
graphs is that, as a viewer, you can spend as much
time as you want, eye to eye, with a photograph
and not break eye contact. In a person-to-person
situation, such staring would be uncomfortable.
As you look at Ricks photographs, you will notice
that he has been careful to position his subjects
against a background that provides a context for
the person being photographed. Take, for ex-
ample, the photo that appears in this books in-
troduction that shows a beautiful young Cuban
girl in a blue outfit (blue blouse and blue jeans),
Rick Sammon has authored 27 books on photog-
raphy and conservation, but this one, he tells me,
is his favorite. His photographs reveal, with clari-
ty, the reason why. He is truly a photographer who
loves to engage people with his camera, people in
different cultures, young and old. He photographs
them with great sensitivity, dignity, and love.
I think Rick picked up his charm with people
from his dad, who was director of the early no-
table television program, “Person to Person,” with
Edward R. Morrow. He is very close to his dad,
who has a creative mind, a strong work ethic,
and a gentle and respectful way with people that
Rick emulates. His dad is still a great influence on
Rick, and even with a vision problem (macular
degeneration), he continues to assist Rick with
his books, articles, and television programs. Like
father, like son; Rick has passed on these quali-
ties to his 15-year-old son, Marco, named after the
famous Italian explorer, Marco Polo.
Photographing people in your own culture is
much easier than doing so in other cultures. You
must have some understanding of other cultures
and sensitivity to differences. Body language can
play an important role, but you must be cautious.
For example, thumbs up, which is a signal of ac-
ceptance or approval in some cultures, can have
quite a different meaning in other cultures. Body
language can become bawdy language. Personal
space is another factor to consider. Some cultures
require a greater distance between the photogra-
pher and the person being photographed to feel
at ease. It is a common practice for Rick to first
spend some time with the person or persons to
be photographed so as to establish a rapport and
trust. Sometimes he will entertain them with mag-
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