It's about permission, which is where a lot of folks get mixed up. Sure, it's permission to stare, longer than would otherwise be acceptable.
And it's permission to demand, to control, too direct.
And it's permission to do all those things with/to a subject. Quite appealing, though we rarely admit it to ourselves.
And a lot of people linger in that space. The surface of it.
But beyond that, deeper than that, it's permission to indulge in things weird, off-kilter. To search for a moment that takes both you and your subject to a place of trust, exploration, maybe even, if you're lucky, truth.
It's permission to ask someone for their trust, in the hope you'll both be rewarded with art. Permission to give, rather than take. But you (the photographer) have to be willing to ask. You have to be willing to ignore those initial instincts and do the work. Be patient, give of yourself to create the connection.
The kind of permission that's really helpful is the kind of you ask of yourself.
In retrospect, the in-between shots that Work are the ones that, more often than not, suggest more to the "story" than what's in the frame. With neither of us intending for this moment to be captured, perhaps there's more honesty in it, a truth implied by awkwardness, imperfect framing, the intimation of something caught, rather than constructed.