103104dancer.jpgWalking the streets of Indianapolis, Indiana, on an Autumn Sunday morning in 1987. Beautiful light for photography. The geometry of row houses along one street caught my eye.

As I aligned the shot in the camera’s viewfinder, I noticed her in the window, stretching, dancing and enjoying her morning exercises. The light was perfect as I rattled off a half dozen shots and moved on. I wouldn’t know until processing the slides several days later if the shots would be any good. They were. The light, the patterns and the dancer in the windows gave me a memorable shot on a Sunday morning.

Some who have viewed this shot over the years say it borders on voyeurism. It does. Photography is, in part, a voyeuristic endeavor. We spy on people and events and then capture those people and events – sometimes with their knowledge, more often without. A good photographer is constantly watching others, looking for the right moment, the right composition, the right mood. It is an intrusive profession and our challenge is to intrude without invading. Not an easy balance to strike and the line can be too easily crossed. Stay in balance and photography becomes photojournalism or art. Get out of balance and the photographer is nothing more than paparazzi. One might argue that taking a photo of a young lady dancing in the privacy of her home is an invasion of privacy. Others would say that dancing in front of an open window destroys any expectation of privacy. Such a debate has no firm answer.

Part photography, part voyeurism, part luck. All come into play. All make it possible to remember that day 17 years ago. Without photography, I might not and this is a memory I’m glad to keep.

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