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Why is it that certain photographs take on a resonance that seems quite removed from any considered rationale behind the shot?

This picture of a South African woman walking along the roadside has haunted me ever I shot it on our return trip to Cape Town at the beginning of this year. As taken, it was highly over-exposed and you can evidence of that in the blown-out highlights on the fence and the woman's profile. Just snapped from a camera pointed out through the window of a car slowing up to a traffic light. Enough remained, though, to pull out this high contrast image.

So what it is that attracts? Certainly the color range that remains, rich in browns, bordered by gray top and bottom appeals to me. As does the woman's whitened profile, fitting as it does the letter and bottle painted on the fence. She's positioned right in front of one the fence posts, fitting nicely into the geometry of the fence that way. Her feet have just enough motion blur to add action to her walking pose; her profile suggests a certain determination to get where she's going and an absolute indifference to the camera photographing her.

No reason why this should appeal to anyone else. But to me it's a little special.

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