Wednesday, July 13, 2005     « Pink Curtains »


I was going to post another bingo photo today but felt compelled to post this one instead. It's just another in my ongoing obsession with windows/curtains/light. But this one is quite a bit different since I decided to stand back and capture the entire window rather than closing in on the curtains. Despite all the contemporary elements (interac sign yuck) I still like it. I love that the restaurant used old dot matrix printer paper for their bathroom sign.

I do have some uneasiness with the girl looking out through the window. I'm still unsure how I feel about it and may never be certain. I have thought about people in relation to my own photographs because I consciously chose to keep them out with a few exceptions. But it is becoming more and more common for me to include people, in part because I am standing back more and that makes it harder to capture a peopleless world, and because people make up a scene and I'm not as interested in excluding them.

I've been thinking and conversing with other photo takers a lot over the last month about what it means to photograph strangers and use their likeness in an image. I think about the moral implications and the way that the act can take away a person's sense of privacy. I know that sometimes when I am out in public I am there because I have to be, not because I want to be. If someone photographed me in one of those moments I'd be pretty pissed about it. I would feel angry that a stranger felt it okay to take something from me without permission or possibly a nugget of sensitivity about it. I don't think it is always wrong or invasive, and sometimes it is invasive but the ends justifies the means. I'm not totally against it, I just wish more people would think about it first or have some sort of understanding of what it can mean rather than the kind of cocky, arrogant talk I sometimes I hear. I worry more and more that with so many people out there in the world with digital cameras that it will become a bigger and bigger problem as more and more people feel entitled to take what isn't theirs simply because they can.

Often times I think about photography as a kind of ownership; the language we use around it reflects that. You "shoot" or "capture" something with the tool and by doing so you the photographer now "own" the film or the file and whatever it is that is on it. Obviously photography can be and is so much more than that but that aspect is there and my awareness of it is unsettling at times. It gets blurrier for me when people are the subject because sometimes I see people using cameras to capture or own the emotions of another individual without ever having been brave enough to put their own emotions out there. In those instances it feels like a kind of "using" that feels icky. I wrote about a similar thing recently in relation to photographing places.

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