An unguarded moment

The great Helen Levitt (1913-2009), a marvelous street photographer who spent her life in New York, deliberately searched out and recorded comedy. Not to exploit, but simply to enjoy and record the fleeting oddness of people.

“A lot of my early pictures are, I think, quite funny; and these days, I tend to look for comedy more and more,” she told an interviewer late in her career.

Yesterday, near my mother’s studio in Bryson City, I spotted this woman outside a hair salon. The image amused me, so I raised my camera to capture the shot, before she could spy my camera and either flee or react. With photos such as this one, I do sometimes worry people might mistake my amusement for making fun. That’s not the case. I just love the strangeness of being human.