Photos I Wish I Had Taken: Ali Taj

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Photo: Ali Taj 

As the watermark on the image suggests, I was perusing 500 px, as I am want to do on a Sunday morning, and I came across this image by Ali Taj.


How could I not be drawn in? How could I not stop and immerse myself in this photo? It’s utterly stunning, and made even more powerful by being processed in monochrome.

I love how she appears through the black as if she is an apparition—the focus directed squarely on her extraordinary face and that haunting expression. The tears. I mean… it’s just beautiful. And gut wrenching.

Taj entitles this photo taken in 2013: “Tell Me Why”

Unfortunately, he doesn’t offer any information about the woman, why she was crying or where this was taken. I’ve asked him to elaborate and if he responds, I’ll update this post.

If you like this image (or not) please tell me why in the comments below.


For more Photos I Wish I Had Taken 

43 replies »

  1. A real classic, and considering that in this day and age of flickering attention spans it has made us pause and wonder as to why she is crying, itself makes it a more successful photograph

  2. this photo is absolutely stunning.Although i’m not one with an artistic mind but i feel like this is the first photo that i have come across that gives us multiple meanings it shows her grief,the amount of hard wrok that she may have done in her past,theres a small hint of love in it as well.ASOLUTELY STUNNING!!!!

  3. I am no expert at photography, and I shall not pretend to appreciate the details I do not understand.
    But what I do like, is the untouched cloth- and the pained face- standing in stark contrasts with each other.

  4. Its a powerful emotional image that clearly relates to the viewer in different ways – a classic example of BW at its best – I see why you have it listed under “I wish I had taken that”

  5. I like the tonal range and the composition with the head to one side of the frame with the arm coming in from the right side of the frame, and leading up to the hand and therefore the face. The eye contact is good and that immediately forms a connection with the viewer.

    A strong element in the image is that it begs the question why the woman is crying? Are they tears of sadness or happiness? Is she indeed crying or, are her eyes watering from something like smoke? We don’t really need to know, the image works because it makes the viewer ask questions, it creates a reaction and makes us dwell on it and look closely. Photos that evoke a response and engages the viewer are always strong images.

    This would have worked in colour too, but the monochrome really enhances it.

  6. It´s a beautiful image, but I still don´t get the point. I´m not so much into portraits, because it´s (in my personal view without wanting to criticize too harsh) only sensation. Yes, a portrait is a – photographically seen – stunning thing, to see all the wrinkles, maybe tears etc. But what does it tell us? Nothing! I don´t know, why she´s sad, where she lives, under what circumstances. We like it, because we hardly get that close to people (especially strangers) in everyday life. And we are touched, because man has got empathy. But a picture, where I could see her struggling with hard manual labor on the field or together with her kids in a worn-down shed would touch me even deeper. Then there would be a story. Or if this picture would be part of a series.
    I´m sorry 😉

  7. It’s a superb image. I love the tonal range and the way the face emerges from all the surrounding black. The expressiveness, especially in the eyes, is emotionally engaging. All the unknowns that provoke questions also draw the reader in.

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