The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Beautiful words and a fascinating subject I’ve been exploring. Pupil dilation…perhaps the most important cue on behavior over which we have little control. They dilate in response to not just light but also in response to exploration and exploitation.
It wasn’t until photographing the kokanee during spawning that I realized that they died at the end of it and in this image, near death, the pupil was dilated.
Studies have also indicated that shuttering the pupil can have a detrimental impact on moral behavior by allowing a higher degree of perceived anonymity and my take away from that is to be far more wary of someone who keeps that feature hidden.
Social norms have taught us how to fake smile and feign interest but it would appear that there are clues that cannot be controlled…visual tells that extend far beyond the correlation of the smile reaching the eye.
I’m reminded of Gavin de Becker’s book, The Gift of Fear, that I read years ago while involved with Search and Rescue with my bloodhound. He spoke about that situation where you’re waiting for an elevator, the doors open to a large man inside and your gut tells you to not get in but your mind worries about insulting the person inside that elevator. What would you do?
We ignore signals that could protect us from violence on a continual basis and I’ll be giving more thought to those who shutter their eyes without an obvious reason.