The extent of concentration and mutuality required for each portrait offer a beautiful metaphor for the teaching-learning process itself. Germain writes:
I never tell the students how they should look but ensuring that everybody has a clear view of the camera requires concentration and patience. Each pupil has to be aware of their place in the picture.
In order to achieve sharp focus in both fore- and background, the exposure time is usually a quarter or half a second so the pupils have to be ready for the moment the shutter is released. I am waiting for them and they are waiting for me. The process itself generates an atmosphere and the time captured in the portrait seems significant.