Bright souls

©Karen Arango

I was reading my book about aromatherapy when these two beauties showed up in the seat in front of me in the NJ bus. As I looked up, the girl who is holding her daughter in this picture had one of her headphones on while she shared the music she was listening to with her daughter. It was such a precious moment to watch as they interacted with so much love and tenderness.

The mother looked young, as if she was in her twenties, and I wondered how old she was when she had the girl. It made me think of my own mother and of women who become mothers at a very young age. I wondered if she was a single mother, I was curious about where they were heading to and who they were going to meet.

As I watched them interact, I had the impulse of taking my camera out and taking a picture of the two, but something told me that I should ask them before I took the photo, even if it ruined the moment I wanted to capture; and I did. After I asked the mother about taking their photo, she smiled genuinely -to my surprise- and posed for me to take their photo. Of course I was looking for a more natural moment, I took their photo anyways. Then she told me the girl loved getting photos taken and she began to pose. Immediately, I started taking pictures of her as the bus kept going. Everyone around me noticed our interaction and was touched by the girl’s beautiful smile and soul, I just kept photographing, happy about everyone’s reactions and about the fact that the mother had let me photograph them.

© Karen Arango

I put my camera away, not wanting to intimidate them with too many pictures. After I took their photos, their interaction became closer, more tender. I took my camera out again, to capture more of their closeness with each other. The young girl had been staring at me for a while and as I took the camera out of my bag, she began to smile and get excited. Playfully, I gave her a sign to stay still and quiet, as if it was a game. Then asked her mother if I could photograph them just as they were sitting, she agreed. The mother seemed to feel flattered that I wanted to photograph them.

I wondered what the mother was thinking, she seemed so young, and thoughtful. Was she a student? Was it hard for her, to be a young mother? What nationality did she have? I would have asked her all these questions, but it didn’t seem appropriate at the moment. At the time, it was more important for me to enjoy their love for one another.



One thought on “Bright souls

  1. I loved this! I’ve visited NYC and I don’t think most folks would’ve have been brave enough to photograph a ‘stranger’ on the subway. Moments like this- the mundane- are rarely caught on film. I’m sure these photos will be treasured by the mother and child. You are so talented, Karen.

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