The Image: James Autery, "Distance"

© James Autery, Distance, 2005

When I took this picture, I was in college, going to school for photojournalism. I was, and still am, in love with people and with light. I was very shy to engage with people and tell them why I wanted to take their picture. I was walking the streets with my camera after an all-nighter in the darkroom, as usual in those days, and came across some young people waiting for their bus. I asked if I could take their picture. The young man on the far right said nothing, as did the young woman. The young man on the left said, "Take a picture of us!" I snapped a couple of shots. The young woman was hesitant and distant and her boyfriend was slightly crude. It was this photo that came a new awareness in me... a delicate thread my finger has traced many times. It is the fine line between the negative aspect of photography which is the invasion of people's personal lives and images, public or not, and my personal focus in photography: the look in a person's face that tells a story, the abstract impression of human experience, the symbols of what human life looks like on this planet at this particular time.

- James Autery