Almost everything I remember clearly about the past has to do with a person, often with a face.

These days, granddaughter Lydia is teaching me about the early origins of love for the human face. Below is 29 seconds of a typical interaction with her at ten weeks of age.

She is alert and curious, but something special happens when her eyes lock onto mine.

The impulse to record moments like the above and to try to capture something unique, yet universal, about another person unites those of us with a calling to teach, make art, and document life stories, such as this one.

As I sit here on a Wednesday morning, three levels above Penn Avenue, waiting for Lydia to arrive, I am musing about faces and why I love portraits so much. I’m influenced by our recent family vacation where we got to watch an expert photographer at work.

Note every face. Can you tell that black flies were biting us? The photographer took them away electronically, but we felt their bites all evening. Can you tell who was itching to get away from them? :-)

Note every face. Can you tell that black flies were biting us? The photographer took them away electronically, but we felt their bites all evening. Can you tell who was itching to get away from them? 🙂 Photos by Kelly Sea Images.

T or F: The two looking at each other make this portrait of the whole more interesting.

T or F: The two looking at each other make this portrait of the whole more interesting.

Those eyes. They do much more than just see.

Those eyes. They do much more than just see.

The way he holds her. His sensitivity.

The way he holds her. His sensitivity.

A good photographer relaxes the subject of portraits, like Joyous Photographer managed to do with the first photo shoot after Lydia came home from the hospital.  In two weeks I am going to take my first digital photography with Mandy Kendall at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts class.

Guess what I hope to focus on? How to take high-quality portraits, both candid and posed.

I can’t end this post without the reminder of the thousands of faces in Houston, and now New Orleans, who are experiencing devastation from flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Here is a series of dramatic photos I ask you to look at prayerfully. Maybe you want to print one of these to put on your desk to remind you to keep praying.

Then get out your checkbook. I’ll be sending my dollars here.

We have so little power against nature when she is enraged.

But the power we do have can be seen in the place all babies learn to look: the human face.

I wish the comments section would allow us to upload photos from you that show your love of the human face. But since they don’t, I’d love to hear your portrait stories. Could be written description, image, or song.

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