(i.m. Eve Arnold)
Your untaught hands picked up a camera
and never put it down, finding
instinct for the picture
that carries the burden of history
so lightly it seems no burden at all.
Icons of stage and screen; children and women
whose lives are never seen,
all gently caught; held
in your gaze, your lens capturing
the essence of their lives and times.
Deceptively simple this art of yours,
framing faces in a view-finder
to create a pleasing image
that seems by accident to encapsulate
history, yet somehow magically transcends it.
I wrote this poem several years ago and it managed to find its way to Eve Arnold herself who sent me a lovely postcard to say how much she enjoyed reading my poem.
Eve Arnold was an American photojournalist who worked for the famous Magnum Photographic Agency. You can see a slideshow of some of her photos here.