Wednesday, December 22, 2010
"Indiana Jones could die in the 5th part. A character's popularity can even grow after his death. Think about Jesus and Bobba Fett etc."
I've seen many things in my life but never expected to read Jesus and Bobba Fett in one and the same sentence, and in such a colloquial and natural way. It's not as if I were religious. It's the absurdity that made my shout OMG and slap my forehead. Obviously I'm getting too old for this world.
Still waiting to wake up from this. Or falling asleep would be even better.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Now... one thing I could never understand - or rather accept - is how much photographic history is centered around American photographers. OK, why being surprised when out of the 20 candidates 15 are American in a CNN feature (or 16 if we count cosmopolitan Capa too), but it's a bit like voting for the most iconic buildings of the world and 16 of 20 candidates were US landmarks. Where are the Japanese, Russian, British ? Typing all this I realise that the CNN audience is probably more acquainted with Weegee, Weston & Co and less so with Kertész or Saudek, just to mention two East Europeans... or so I guess.
Another interesting thing is that the featured German photographers - Gursky and the Bechers - are more on the abstract side while the others represent people photography, from PJ to fashion and documentary, making me think if the US audience had a problem understanding the visual language of non-American people photography. But they obviously can cope with Cartier-Bresson and Capa, so the explanation has probably more to do with the personal taste of the guys who compiled the list and there can't be any dispute over such subjective choices.
Anyway, it's clear that the US had the greatest magazines, the galleries with the best marketing and of course the most photographers, so it's not surprising that photographic history is often understood as the history of American photography.
Who would be my choice? I would be hard pressed to pick the 5 most iconic names, but in photojournalism it would be Weegee - he invented the genre after all and his photographs are as fresh now as they were in his time. HCB... well, some friends might kill me for such blasphemy but I believe his most iconic shots like this were staged. Joe Rosenthal and Capa ditto (sorry, I don't believe the loyalist's death was real - and even worse, I dare say it doesn't matter). I truly couldn't make a choice. It's after all the photographers one has to rank and not the photographs. If I valued cheerful Capa over aristocratic HCB or the compassionate Dorothea Lange over vulture-like Weegee, would that make any sense? How can you compare the Tienanmen shot (Stuart Franklin) with a fashion photograph (Man Ray) anyway?
Last but not least - how could any contest be taken seriously which doesn't feature Ken Rockwell?... :)
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Second, it has mind-blowing colors.
And then it has all those incredible faces... so often seen in other photographs. Already back in 1999, when I presented my first Indian portfolio to Tamás Féner, a living legend among Hungarian photojournalists (he is so old-school that he hasn't even a webpage, but would be nonetheless on pair with the greatest ones had he not been born in Hungary) and I'll never forget the resignation in his voice: "oh yes, India, Pushkar camel fair and stuff like that, do you know how how many million photos we've already seen of that?". Even though my pictures at that time had nothing to do with Pushkar or Rajasthan, he had a point - Rajasthan is a people photographer's paradise and who could resist the temptation? I couldn't. To realize that I can't photograph every smart face and pretty peasant girl was a hard reckoning, but then at least I tried...
In most situations a polaroid, some charm and loads of humour suffice to create an open and honest relation between me and my subjects which is prerequisit to every good portrait. Sadly, it was in Rajasthan that I had my first and only conflict with people over taking their photographs. I noticed the beauty of this scene from the car - three women walking in the fields in their bright dresses under the overcast sky.
I let Soni pull over, ran up to them and took this shot, and seeing that it's not that remarkable I already wanted to return to the car, when the woman on the left noticed me. She came to me and asked for money. I hate giving them money, my polaroid was in the car and didn't want to pay them anyway because I didn't like the photo and took it from far away, without their faces visible. The woman got angry and shouted, "paisa, paisa" meaning "money, money". I calmly said, no. She then raised her hack (or is it called a hoe?) and threatened to trash me, to which I equally raised my Gitzo monopod and there we stood in a Rajasthani stalemate: she was ready to trash down on me with that hack and I assuming the same pose with the monopod. There was nothing funny in this situation but I almost laughed since the scene reminded me to a kendo fight. Not seeking trouble, I slowly moved backwards until she turned away.
Neither could I resist the temptation when we visited the Sham dunes (which should be rather called "scam" or "shame", for it's a tourist circus)...
... and all those desert gypsy girls pestered me to have their photo taken for five, ten, twenty dollars - depending on how they assessed my finances by my look. I admit I booked a model for five, so to say, with her daddy doing me the extra favor of standing in the background on a camel, just to experience how low one can get in photography... although probably the lowest thing one could do were to show such a photograph anywhere else than in a photoblog.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Two days later, already in Rajasthan, we were having a coffee&cigarette break in a dhaba when Soni looked up from his newspaper and said, "very bad rain in Almora, road we came is blocked now, dozen people dead". We were on our way to Jaisalmer and upon hearing this, I started having serious concerns about the safety of that town. Wherever we went, disaster followed. I actually wanted to spend one or two more days in Almora but heavy rains were exactly what I was afraid of and voila, it happened. The only thing worse than leaving a good place in the anticipation of something bad is to be eventually proven right.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
First, when the new .co domains were made available in July-August I obtained lots of catchy domain names for the future site. My personal favorites are: www.ladygagahasadick.net, www.1x-longerbiggeruncutversion.co and www.bestguineapigphotosoftheworld.org.
Or maybe it will be something more trivial like photographers.co, silverpixel.co, worldimages.co, thephotobank.co, photospace.co, realphoto.co or just vision.co - who knows :)
Or maybe it will be something totally different, because apart from my own project (the developers are in the demo phase) other friends are also building something big; I'm not sure if they liked their name displayed at this stage, hence I prefer not to tell. (As a matter of fact: because almost anyone involved in either project is still on 1X I really better keep my mouth shut). I absolutely loved their demo version but in the end it depends on the overall concept; I hope they will not narrow down the scope of their site to street photography. It's the queen of non-conceptual photographic arts but only for the chosen few, and nobody designing a site wants to have few members.
Bottomline: the project is in its Rubber Duck phase, looking smooth and quiet on the surface but paddling like the devil underneath...
Message from Flickr: "You've been invited to add this photo to the group Kids' Asylum - Eradicate SOCIAL Poverty."
I hardly think I will.
Nice group, nice shots, nice kids. I wonder how many of them are really poor by their own standards. This girl wasn't, by Indian standards anyway. Neither is this shot about poverty. Even if it were, I guess she wouldn't like the idea of becoming a face of poverty.
Likewise, Zoltan Huszti once took a decent portrait of me. I wouldn't like him to add it to the group "Self-righteous arrogant bastards" if such a group existed on Flickr.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I found a video on YouTube that catches the temple atmosphere very well, taken by an Argentinian traveler. The creepy part starts at 4.10.
The main altar.
I don't believe in demons but the more I live, the less I know. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.