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Eyes so transparent that through them the soul is seen. Theophile Gautier

Rishikesh, India 2019.
This opening photo is the one that gave me the idea for this post. It’s his eyes – the serenity and kindness and depth, the unflinching gaze of someone at peace. A swami dressed in beautiful robes; he was not an ascetic, and he was not poor, and he was not pretending to be a seeker to pose for tourists. He was just there, fully present, and happy to be photographed.

Bali, Indonesia 2012. A dancer in the traditional Barong Dance.

Those true eyes too pure and too honest in aught to disguise the sweet soul shining through them. Owen Meredith

Cham village near Chau Doc, Vietnam 2013.

Prek Toal floating village, Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia 2013.

Jodhpur, India 2012.

The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter – often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter – in the eye. Charlotte Bronte

Koh Samui, Thailand 2013.

Puno, Peru 2014. A performer in the Festival of the Virgin of Candelaria.

Where words are restrained, the eyes often talk a great deal. Samuel Richardson

Mingun, Myanmar 2013

The train graveyard, near Uyuni, Bolivia 2013.

A village in the hills near Inle Lake, Myanmar 2013

Photo by Don Read

It is in their eyes that their magic resides. Arthur Symons

Vancouver, Canada 2014.

A remote village in the Peruvian Amazon, 2014.

Ollantaytambo, Peru 2014.

Almost nothing need be said when you have eyes. Tarjei Vesaas

Aswan, Egypt 2016.

Chiapa de Corzo, Mexico 2017. A performer in the Great Festival of January.

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?
Henry David Thoreau

Navala Village, Fiji 2014.

Aqaba, Jordan 2015.

Paris, France 2019.

Pushkar, India 2012.

The eye is the jewel of the body. Henry David Thoreau

Montreal, Canada 2018.

Disclaimer: As a general rule, if a photographer is shooting in a public space, such as a street or a park, s/he will usually have the right to do so without the consent of the subjects. Generally speaking if it is in the public domain, you can take a picture of it. Photojournalism and street photography would not exist if permission to take the photo was required. If anyone objects of course I don’t take the photo, or if it’s already done I have them witness me deleting it. In some countries, eg India, people love to have their photo taken, and frequently request it. I always try to be discreet. Quite frequently it creates lovely interactions between myself and the subject. I have found it to be overwhelmingly a positive experience.

Next post: Swinging over to Japan to visit Kyoto’s Kitano Tenmangu Market and Nishiki Market for a glimpse of local life.

All words and images by Alison Louise Armstrong unless otherwise noted
© Alison Louise Armstrong and Adventures in Wonderland – a pilgrimage of the heart, 2010-2021.