They were headed somewhere important. You could tell that by the way they moved. Actually, they sort of swayed but it was with purpose and determination. They were certainly syncopated in their movements and that made me smile. I fell in behind them.
The mid-morning sun has a way of releasing fragrances and it was already pretty warm. Strolling behind the three women, I was in a veritable cloud of three different flowery yet spicy and slightly musky smells. They wafted on the air, rising and spreading as a wake from a boat, as the tres senoras traipsed through El Centro in Cuenca, Ecuador. The scents, though interesting, were slightly cloying in their mish-mash of variety.
I studied their swaying and the way it seemed matched to an unknown rhythm. They seemed to alternate movements between 4/4 and 2/4 time. The motion became hypnotic as I followed them. I began to be fearful I would be thought to mock the women as I too began to sway rhythmically from side to side while walking and holding my camera against my chest. I kept from throwing my right arm in the air like they were though. And, I didn’t twitch my butt too much. Nobody was laughing so I took that as a good sign and another cue to keep following my tres señoras.
Though dressed alike, the clothes fit them differently. One woman’s hat sat on her ears and on another, it was perched more jauntily on the tip-top of her head. The jackets fit differently too but not just in the shoulders. As they moved their bodies, a rear lower vent of the jackets was being opened wider by some of the three different physiques. The skirts were of a common clingy material that was well chosen for its abilities to describe by sight, through its hip-hugging qualities, that which would be considered socially unacceptable when described by words.
Two of the young women sported hosiery that was slightly different in color. On the third woman, her hose swelled slightly at her ankles. Please draw your own conclusions. The shoes were also different but mostly by care received with some having polish and some needing it.
The shadow play on the women’s legs was interesting. The sun was high in the sky when I made my photograph. It cast deep and defining shadows across their calves and thighs that revealed the muscle tone of the young womens’ limbs. As they continued with their marching routine, their heel to toe step was executed in a precise manner. Feet tapped, shadows danced, hips moved and fabric bunched as I prepared to stop time with my camera.
My tres señoras knew I was there as I had been chatting lightly with them as I circled about. Some things just look better going away instead of coming at you and that was certainly the case here. Consciously, I removed the opportunity to see their faces, allowing the viewer more time with other, perhaps more pleasing, elements of the photograph. And, it shows the scene more the way I like it and in the manner I wanted to present it to you.
I stepped to one side and lined them up slightly offset in my viewfinder. When they all showed me the spikes of their right heels at one time, I was already in the shutter firing. It was at that moment the three women walked out of my life and into the pages of history as their digital bits and bytes fell silently into my memory card.