But I don’t want to have my picture taken outside of the Louvre! Paris, France. 2009

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?”

Kids could not care less what their parents want to photograph them in front of

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.

Me?

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.
 

7 thoughts on “But I don’t want to have my picture taken outside of the Louvre! Paris, France. 2009”

  1. I just checked Parr out. O, my…I’m with you. I wish I could see them larger. Now, THIS guy doesn’t need a tutorial in how to photograph people, does he? I’m going to try and do one modeled on his style this week. I’d better get crackin’. Oh, maybe I have one already from NYC. A gentler Parr, but Parr-ish, may be the best I can do.

  2. I’m glad you mentioned Parr. He is one of my favorute phtographers, not only for his images, but also for his thinking about photography. I really want to see his series of Slovenia he did a few years ago.

    As for the first part of the post, I know exactly what you mean. I now do make conscious effort to come back from travels with a few pics of us, but not with the been there done that touristy stuff. Call me a travel photography wanker if you will :)

  3. Reading too much into photos starts to go the way of poetry for me: if I have to spend a lot of time analyzing what the person is trying to say or present, it goes over my head.
    Either I like it, don’t like it, or it’s just okay.

    I looked at some of Parr’s Machu Picchu photos and read his description of his visit. I guess people see what they want to see when they visit anywhere: everyone with a camera has a different angle.

  4. Pat

    I took some photos in Paris of various women sunbathing in the parks. They are such nasty, unflattering photos that I think that even Parr would be reluctant to show them. I won’t be posting the photos but it makes me realise what my limits are.

    Donald

    Like I was saying to Pat, Parr makes me aware of the fact that one can go too far.

    Grasswire

    I’m looking forward to the conversation about such things when we meet up soon.

    Ross

    I understand what you mean and I’d also say that you’re either into it or not. I have to admit that most poetry leaves me cold.

    I once read an article by the art critic Kenneth Clarke about how art forgeries are hard to pick when they are first made but they are easy to pick much later because the prevailing aesthetics of the era of the forgery seep through the aesthetics of the time of the original work.

    He used as an example of a forged medieval ivory that had be carved in the 1920s. Clarke said that tastes of the 1920s showed through the medieval motif.

    The point I’m trying to make is that we can’t help but express something about ourselves when we create anything, it’s just that some of us are a little more aware of what we are doing and try to control the outcome of our output.

    There is always a subtext……. if you’re looking for one. Then again, there’s nothing wrong in not looking and just relaxing.

  5. I think a lot of camera owners don’t give much thought to creative photography. the camera is just an instrument used to keep visual records of past events. How boring is that?

  6. Dave

    Well, it sure is a different mind set to mine. Then again, I quite often take photos to illustrate something that I’m rambling on about and that’s why I wouldn’t call this a photo blog. Some of my photos are more “expressive” than others, which are more “illustative”.

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