When I was in high school I had a friend who came from Peru called Markus. One day, Markus was with me when I was taking some photos and he asked me, “why do you take photos of all these things without you in the shot?”
I asked Markus what he meant and he went on to explain, “you might as well just buy a post card”I countered with, “but that’s not the same as me actually taking the shot”.
Markus shot back with, “a post card would be a better shot, but isn’t the idea to take photos with you in them, to show were you were really there?”
It was at this point that it became clear to me that there were different cultural approaches to photography. I was always trying make interesting images (at the age of about 14 or 15 I wasn’t too successful), whereas there was another large group of people out there that see the camera as a method of recording where they, or someone they care about has been and producing physical proof of the fact.
On the subject of people and how they relate to photography and landmarks; when I was in Paris I came across an outdoor exhibition called, “Small world” by Martin Parr. The images were of tourists at various landmarks all around the world and they show people and how they’re interacting with the famous place.
Parr’s work divides opinions and creates controversy. Some people see Parr’s images as being a fascist attack on the working class and others see it as just plain old misanthropy.
I love his stuff!
I really like the way how Parr has identified the things he doesn’t like in society, and then goes ahead and photographs them. No love, just savage ridicule. It’s not kind and doesn’t show any love, but it’s still valid in my mind.