Monthly Archives: March 2011
Click on the title of the blog post to view the entire entry.
Life doesn’t exist in a perfect pattern with even horizons, perfect symmetry, or with everything observing the rule of thirds. Last time I checked there aren’t very many perfectly posed moments where the action stops and people freeze to remember time for a split second. So why oh WHY do so many people insist upon photographing the world from this over-controlled, uncreative, and quite frankly, boring point of view? Our publications are filled with these bland but technically perfect images. Dudes who obsess over f stops and technical jargon take these photos. But the art and emotion are lacking in my opinion. They constitute the middle-of-the-road vanilla ice cream point of view that is more likely to sell and please the general public than the photos on the outskirt and periphery. Beach scenes, happy families, and sunsets. Creativity is out. Boring is revered.
Even the candid portrait photography that is so popular today is mostly a series of actions and staged scenes orchestrated purposefully to present a positive view for the camera. Do people really believe that engaged couple is hanging out in the park in their perfect outfits acting as cutesy as a bunch of high schoolers?? That those kids in perfect knickers are sitting on the stoop for fun and aren’t dreaming of bribed video games and oreos they are getting for pretending to be angels? And, that mom is NOT standing two feet away saying ‘SMILE!!! SMILE!!!’ Certainly these types of portraits have their purpose. But call it what it is. ‘Capturing moments’ ‘real life’ ‘candid’ are all just marketing tools. I know that because I used to use those taglines and I realized what a farce it was. We love the thought that we are seeing things ‘as they really are’. But fact of the matter is that most people do not want others to see them ‘as they really are’ because that would be much less glamorous. But as a society, we have bought into this canned take on life. Otherwise, reality TV wouldn’t be so popular. I mean, does anyone actually believe the cast of those ridiculous ‘reality tv’ programs aren’t fully aware of the camera crew following them around day in and day out and that their words, outfits, and actions aren’t distinctly selected because of its presence? Are we that simple that we believe that these faux-celebs aren’t just putting on a show for us and that everyone else’s children ARE that perfectly dressed and well mannered? Just because you don’t see the camera in the frame doesn’t mean that the person in front of the lens doesn’t see it. I used to play peek-a-boo also…. when I was a baby.
Without a doubt, cameras change the scene. People change when they know a camera is in their midst.
Considering how few perfectly-orchestrated moments happen around us – I mean, let’s face it, it is not very productive to stop and freeze and balance and guide so it only happens here and there – where are rest of the overlooked spaces? They are still there! They are just forgotten as soon as they happen. They are blurry and crooked and over-exposed and chaotic. It is a photographers nightmare! Well, to most photographers, at least. But not to me. I love to capture the blur and the chaos and the split seconds. I depend on these crazy photos from my trips. I can process a scene days, weeks, years later and get so much more from my experience. It is the only way I can truly remember where I have been.
So, the people in the Medina of Marrakech (the old city within the walls) do not really like to have their photo taken. I would never have guessed this would a problem for me because I tend to be a rather incognito photographer…. I am mastering the art of taking a great photo without looking thru the viewfinder… years in the making, it is my own soon-to-be-patented method. Most people don’t even realize I have snapped. Maybe because there aren’t any cars to create a base noise level or maybe because the streets are so narrow and vendors have nothing better to do than to wait for people to come to their store, somehow they hone in on that camera like no other place I have seen before. It became quite obvious to me that Moroccans do not want their photo taken!! My first clue was when the guy spit at me! I know they see tourists day in and day out and they are probably tired of being an animal at the zoo.
That doesn’t change the fact that I didn’t appreciate being yelled at for taking my harmless photos on a public walking path! Chill out, dudes.
So, just because you yelled at me I am going to post my pictures of you.
I learned my lesson on this first one. I had to get uber incognito after both of these guys yelled at me. I learned to wait for the mopeds to drive by so they couldn’t hear my snap. I held my camera in such a way that I snapped with the trigger on the grip versus the trigger on the top. And, I even looked a different direction than where I was snapping in many cases. I no likey angry men yelling at me.
But this guy?? Little man sitting off to the left?? I mean, c’mon! It isn’t MY fault you chose to sit where there was some precious gorgeous light! I didn’t ask you to sit there! You don’t OWN the light! That light is as much MINE as it is YOURS! In fact, I think I own a greater stake in it because I can actually see it and recognize it for its beauty! So lay off, dude! Sheesh!
You know, we hired a dude to give us a carriage ride around the area – all outside the medina because carriages are not allowed within the walls. Can you believe THAT guy told me I wasn’t allowed to take photos, also??? Really??
I am 100% on board when it comes to respecting the culture of others, trying to fly below the radar, not drawing attention, etc,etc. But no photos in the middle of a public area?? That crosses the line! Because, in my opinion, they see a professional camera and they think they can make an extra buck by telling you ‘no photos’. I guess I can understand their point of view given they deal with tourists every day. But, I wasn’t exactly standing in the corner with my paparazzi lens invading on their territory! I was merely walking by – in this case, the place where they were trying to get ME to spend MY MONEY!
Oh well, I think we might have to agree to disagree on this one.