The eyes have it

By Gus Bode

How often do we take the time to see what is going on in someone’s life by looking at it through their eyes? The career of a photographer focuses around the eye, since it is needed to see the moment through the lens and alert us when to push the shutter. The camera lens, which functions much like the eye, can capture and interpret emotion in a similar fashion.

Nineteenth century American philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, ‘Some eyes threaten like a loaded and leveled pistol, and others are as insulting as hissing or kicking; some have no more expression than blueberries, while others are as deep as a well which you can fall into.’

Even when the rest of the face is covered and the body language is stoic, the eye reveals emotions. Countless songs and poems have been written about the eye as a truth-teller; even the rock band Journey has a song called ‘I Can See It in Your Eyes.’


Maybe it’s the way the skin around the eye creases with emotion, or the way the curve of the eyebrow changes with a mood. But as Emerson said, it is the eye itself – the fact that you can practically look into and behind them’ – that helps to show a mood.

A concerned father. A tense teammate.’ A smiling teen. A celebratory athlete. Their emotions can be seen just by looking at their eyes.

What is interesting is that it takes an eye to see an eye. Ancient Roman philosopher Cicero said, ‘ The eyes are the interpreter.’ However, they are also to be interpreted.