A Time To Photograph

FUJIFILM X100T @23mm, ISO 1600, 1/500 sec, f/10
[click image for larger size]

I always carry a camera, well not always but most times. The weather is very unpredictable, rain, sleet, snow, sun, you know I saw it rain actual cats and dogs once, full on Dachshund, Greyhound, Cornish Rex and Scottish Folds – I googled all those breeds, some are very funny looking – so I like to keep my options open, be able to photograph anything I see and like at any time.  But there are times when I have and purposefully don’t use my camera and there are even times when I don’t or won’t carry a camera.

Sometimes it’s a logical move, like on a stag doo. There are a whole host of reasons why I wouldn’t take my gear on an occasion like that and I am very certain you can all image as to why. Sometimes it is an etiquette thing, you know, like a funeral. I have not seen that done yet but the way people want to persistently record everything that they say, do, see or smell, I can see it becoming ‘a thing’. And I realise that as a photographer that having a small issue with people constantly recording everything  First attempt at that sentence was a nightmare so I rewrote it. And I realise that as t is strange for a photographer to has a small issue with people recording every aspect of their life (sentence recovered) but that is why I am writing this piece, to try to understand, analyse and reconcile with that feeling of annoyance, or maybe it is just to share a story, either way this piece is happening, roll with it. That feeling is one of the reasons I sometimes don’t use my camera, because, in my opinion, some things don’t need photographing. They just need experiencing.

My front door keeps popping, a dull thump, it is really doing my head in! Boss and I bought a new build house just over two years ago and, I know that the house has settling in time, there are creaks and cracks that are bound to happen but the front door does not seem to want to settle down. It’s been two years! Maybe I am just hungry, that’s why I am getting so annoyed…

iPhone 4S @28mm, ISO 800, 1/15 sec, f/2.4 [click image for larger size]
I am a space fan, the final frontier, boldly go place the stars and planets hang in not the dimensions of an area that are free or unoccupied although I do like a bit of space but in this instance, I mean the territory that Professor Brian Cox makes all those documentaries about. I do like those documentaries. I am space fan and I was lucky enough to go and see Astronaut Tim Peake – thank you Boss, Stef and Niall – give a presentation on his time floating around on the Space Station then a short question and answer session. I had plenty of questions that I wanted to ask but I didn’t ask any of them, not through choice, oh no! I was under specific instructions not to ask ANY of the questions that come into my head and, to be fair, it was for the best. Although I hold little doubt that some of my queries would have revealed some earth-shattering questions, most of them were, the majority of them were poo related. They are important questions… they are! As I say best not ask. We got sat early, near the front. Not so close that I spent the entire time with my neck arched back so I could only see up his nose with the rigging and the lights as a backdrop but close enough that I could smell his aftershave. I waited with bated breath as the lights dimmed and the announcer started on the introduction speech, my anticipation grew and my excitement level was uncontainable. In just a moment a man who experienced the cosmos would be on the stage sharing his pearly wisdom and then it started.

FUJIFILM X70 @18mm, ISO 800, 1/30 sec, f/3.2 [click image for larger size]
The first round of clicks began, in my ear, just over my right shoulder, ‘CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKK, CCCCCLLLLLIIIICK, CLICK, CLICK, CCCCCCCCCCCLLLLLLLLLLLLIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK, CLICK, CLICK’. I am as annoyed writing that as I was when it happened, I am annoyed now! The rattling of someone’s DSLR shutter working rapidly, twenty frames per seconded, I think. I wasn’t counting I was grinding my teeth in an effort to hold my tongue. ‘Could actually be the event photographer?’, my brain trying to rationale why I had just experienced a full blast of shutter in my lug, ‘that is their job!’. Correct Brain, it is their job. I looked around and scanned the room for anyone I thought I could identify anyone that could be involved with the show. ‘CCCCCCCCCCLLLLLLLLLLLLLLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKK, CCCCCLLLLLIIIICK, CLICK, CLICK, CCCCCCCCCCCLLLLLLLLLLLLIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK, CLICK, CLICK’, another blast echoing around in my head. Then spotted, the event photographer and the second, one at the front of the stage and the other one stage. Not one of them were sitting just behind me. Mr Peake was had not utter a word, just waved and I had estimated that around eight hundred and forty-three snaps had already been shot off. I started to wonder if it was tinnitus, years of musical abuse finally catching up with my but as I continued to look around that irritating rattle went off again, ‘CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKK, CCCCCLLLLLIIIICK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, CCCCCLLLLLIIIIICK CCCCCCCCCCCLLLLLLLLLLLLIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK, CLICK, CLICK’. Mr Peake had got to centre stage by now and I had grinded through my fillings into my roots. I am nothing if not a, ‘CCCCCCCCLLLLLLLLLLLLLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK, CLICK, CLICK, CCCCCCCCCCCLLLLLLLLLLLLIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK, CLICK, CLICK’, if not a gentleman and there were kinds around and I don’t fancy making a scene, ruining other people’s experience and I certainly didn’t want to be removed. So although every ‘CCCCCLLLLLIIIICK, CLICK, CLICK, CCCCCCCCCCCLLLLLLLLLLLLIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK, CLICK, CLICK’, fibre in my body was scream ‘JUST SMASH THAT FUCKING CAMERA’, I didn’t say anything. Though I feel my face said most of it, it didn’t stop the shutter for long.

I won’t continue to insert the clicks, or give you a step by step of the night in full but I can tell you that for little over an hour that continued. I have no more adjectives to describe the consistency at which this really fucking irritating noise continued to relentlessly click on but trust me I was so done with it! And I wasn’t the only one reacting to the noise, yet the ignoramus thought it fine to just carry on bashing that shutter button, never once viewing the stage through their own eyes, always through the lens. Now I understand the want to catch something exciting, or different or new or even to record and exciting event but, at some point, the camera needs to go down and the experience just needs to be experienced, if not for your sake then for the sake of others around you. It’s like going to a concert or comedy gig and just filming the whole thing on your phone, what’s the point?  ‘It’s like a finger-pointing away to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.’ – Bruce Lee, Enter the Dragon. I think this quote works here, although slightly misused. ‘Don’t concentrate on capturing every individual moment or you will miss out on everything that is happening…. And if you are going to do it get something with an electronic shutter that won’t continue to click in the ear of the people around you, dickhead!’, that is as close as I could get the beauty of Bruce Lees quote.

FUJIFILM X70 @18mm, ISO 3200, 1/60 sec, f/4 [click image for larger size]
I think the real kicker came when, with around ten minutes to go the person upped from their seat, stood in the isle, directly behind the event photographer, hovering just over the event photographers shoulder, so close they could’ve smelt the event photographers shampoo, photographing exactly what they were photographing and then just left! Hadn’t even the decency to wait until the astronauts had left the stage! Class A asshole.

Maybe I am wrong, am I wrong? I can’t be the only who thinks that to act this way, to act like that person did, is out-of-order. I’m usually pretty good at seeing things from the other side, the different viewpoint, even if it’s not what I believe. I think it’s healthy to see, or at least try to see and understand, the other side of the fence but on this occasion, I can’t. Always comes up Asshole. However, I am very open to all and any opinions on the matter, so feel free to unleash your thoughts on the matter. I just think that, sometimes, there are appropriate times to photograph and sometimes it is enough just to the experience of the moment.

Looking forward to my next post that will detail a complete turnaround in opinion as I rant about the importance of shooting everything-I-see-all-of-the-time-no-matter-where-I-am-or-who-is-there. I can be flaky like that, or can I… I lost the point there… I’ve yet to discover the inspiration for my next post but I am sure it will come. Until then, happy reading.

All thoughts and comments are welcome.

Happy Reading

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