Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Artsy-Fartsy Photo Tale
P-Doobie's discussion of arty photography reminds me of an encounter I had several years ago in Harvard Square on a clear summer day. I was wandering about when I noticed a young woman photographing the street life. I could tell she was a serious photographer; she had a huge, protruding camera and she was dressed entirely in black. In this case, the black outfit signaled that she, like a stage hand, was (by convention) invisible, and could safely point her lens wherever she pleased. I passed through the main intersection and was waiting at a curb for the walk signal, when I happened to look to my right and see this artistic photographer's lens pointing straight at me. Startled and embarrassed I turned away. My skin tingled and blood heated up. A stranger had taken my picture! My initial excitement quickly cooled as I recalled the kind of pictures artistic photographers produced. They didn't photograph people who looked pretty; they photographed people who looked interesting. How did I look interesting? When I first saw her she was shooting tattoo-covered street musicians and punked-out kids. It haunts me to this day.