Friday, March 14, 2008

For Your Eyes Only

This thought came up while I was writing my Photobook posting...

During my trip to Jiuzhaigou last year, I noticed that there are two common behaviors at any tourist attraction. The Asians will be busy crowding around trying to snap as many photos as possible, while the Caucasians just look around observing the scenery/building/artifact in front or surrounding them and only taking photographs when necessary. Sometimes this observation just amuses me on how different cultures react differently given a same scenario.

Perhaps the difference between Chinese and Western culture is best illustrated in the images by Yang Liu, a Chinese woman who was educated in Germany. Blue represent Western while red represent Chinese. Click here for more on Yang Liu's works.

While I'm also guilty of trying to take as many pictures as possible while in Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong (partly due to the lack of time, as well as following the frenzy of those taking pictures) I did spend some time to observe the nature around me. Unfortunately - more often than not - it was a relatively rushed tour, and also the place was simply too packed with tourists, that prevented me from really observing my surroundings. In other words, whichever direction I looked, there's always people!

However when I was in Chengdu watching the Face Changing show, I realised that as much as possible I wanted to take pictures of the performance, nothing beats watching it with your own eyes. In the end, I just gave up taking photos of some of the performance, especially the one with the 'Shadow Man'. There was an 'uncle' from the same tour as us, I think he literally watched the entire performance through the Viewcam. I personally thought it was a waste as I think he could have enjoyed the show more if he wasn't so obsessed with recording it.

I believe that if you are so obsessed with photo or video taking, you missed the 'Big Picture' altogether. Imagine someone came to you and ask "Hey, did you manage to see the autumn foliage in Jiuzhaigou?", and you answered "I can't remember, let me check my Viewcam/camera" Sheesh! God made you eyes for a reason! Why view His beauty from an artificial eye?

Another reason I like to take photos is to put up my blog (haha) and I think I really like those random photos rather than being a total camwhore. Some posts is just better if there's a picture to it, as human are more receptive to images rather than words :)

Having said that, here are some random photos I took of people taking photographs during my China trip.

Check out this aunty's 'gaya' pose when she takes photographs for others.
She was even more 'gaya' before I could grab my camera to take the photo.

Not sure if this uncle is taking photo or practicing chi gong


Adino said...

Hi! I totally agree with you about missing the big picture.

I feel that it's better to capture the moment in your mind, the sounds, the sights, the atmosphere, the feeling.

Photos are great for memories, but overdoing them is just missing the point :)

lilium said...

Hahaha! I had a good laugh at the uncle's position taking the photo without realising he himself was also taken by others. One word..GAYA!