Thursday, July 26, 2012

the photographer on holiday - cine-trance, retro caravans, family portraits

I guess most photographers consider holidays a chance for new photo opportunities - epic landscapes, photo essays on retro caravans and the people who inhabit them, or beach culture and it's associated seductive bliss, quiet searches for incredible macro shapes and textures, stock shots to sell, street portraiture in country towns and so on. Well, that's been my way for almost 10 years and I can tell you it drives my family nuts.

A holiday through the lens is not really a break (for them, or me). The camera is a barrier, it keeps you at a distance from actually sharing events and moments. This aspect of photography challenges me. The photographer is the viewer and not the participant, it's not a 'real', 'lived' experience, it's framed and isolated, tending towards voyeuristic. The late (great) French ethnographer Jean Rouch might disagree with my view, he spoke of the 'cine-trance' as a type of participation, a way to photograph/document and experience the cultural here and now, but I don't see it that way.

This year I took my camera out once, for 20 minutes, in 5 weeks. 20 minutes of photographing my children on the beach. The rest I of time I hung out, chatted, drew pictures, rode my bike, made sandcastles and ate sushi and cake. It was great, perhaps the best holiday I've had of late, a real experience.

Now back to work.