When I take a photo, I sometimes like to get as close as possible. I know this is weird, but I sometimes feel that when I am in someone’s personal space, they tend to open up more.
If you have been to other countries, you probably know that many people around the world don’t know the limits of personal space. However, in many countries families strive to depend on one another in a way that you don’t see in many cities around the United States. You could literally be on top of someone in line in Haiti, Mexico or even parts of Puerto Rico (US) and the native will not flinch. But here, why do we feel so strongly about personal space and what is that magic divide of that uncomfortable line that we don’t want people to cross?
Do we draw so many boundaries because we like and desire to be alone in this world? Audrey Hepburn told LIFE Magazine in 1953, “I have to be alone very often. I'd be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That's how I refuel."
Or perhaps C.S. Lewis had it correct, “We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.” In this case, I believe Lewis was suggesting meditation as meaning our spoken word to express our thoughts. I could be wrong, but it is just a thought. We fail to express our thoughts to others, I am guilty of this often. I listen more than I talk on many occasions.
All of that being said, when you step into someone’s personal space in America with a smile on your face or a question… the stories can often be amazing and troubling at the same time. In reality, I think people crave for their walls to be broken and personal spaces to be destroyed.
Is that crazy sounding? Well, I am a little weird – I guess.
Photo taken in Nashville, Tennessee. I stepped into her personal space and instead of backing away from my camera lens, she smiled.