Till you’re blue in the face


Yesterday on my return home train trip, a couple of women had a very public disagreement over the sitting arrangement. They shared a double seat bench and obviously found each other’s company uncomfortable. Lots of name calling and reciting from pig’s Latin filled the air. If you would listen to them the gist of the argument narrowed to one too big handbag and one too big bum. They argued for good 20 minutes until one of them reached her destination and simply left the train carriage.

The second woman has fallen asleep within few minutes. Her sleep was very nervous; she twitched, gasped for air from time to time, and looked unsettled all the time. At one point she rested her face against the window and continued her sleep with her mouth open. We were passing a stationary train, and for a split second the sun reflected of something blue on the neighbouring train turning the woman’s face blue. This gave me an inspiration for a photograph you see here.

I knew I could not show her face in the context of this story without also photographing her travelling adversary. I wanted to show how uncomfortable they both felt, and how determined they were to declare they were the “right party” in the argument. I have decided to make the photograph abstract and impersonal by removing majority of the face, especially the eyes, leaving only the nose and open mouth. I mirrored the face and placed it on the edges of the frame to create a distance signifying the opposing views. In addition, to reflect the uneasy, uncomfortable environment I placed the faces upside down. Perhaps I should have called this photograph a “case of big bum and big handbag” but I think, “Till you’re blue in the face” is more fitting.