Sunday, December 29, 2013

Strangers in a Park: The Universal Tale of all Cities

Strangers in a Park by Pauls-Pictures
Strangers in a Park, a photo by Pauls-Pictures on Flickr.
I've been back in Perth for a week or so and have managed to get out on the streets a couple of times already. It's a lovely city: great architecture (ranging from Victorian colonial to postmodern skyscrapers advertising for all to see the brashness and go ahead nature of the place), nice parks, friendly people and overall it's a nice place to spend time in.
But, a city is a city. And a city can be a lonely place as many of us know. This one doesn't appear to bre an exception: it seems to have its share of people alone, maybe even more than its share. Still, being on the western edge of the continent, I think it is a place of last and sometimes lost hope for many. The end of the line. There is no further you can go.
Now, in this image, we can't say that these two people have reached any kind of low point of loneliness. All we can say for sure, is that they are alone in a park. One appears to be a tourist looking at her map or brochure. The other is simply sitting on a bench. More than that we can't say.
However, coming across the scene I was struck by the lonely "feel" of the situation. Two people alone in a small park near the city CBD. Perhaps they are lonely; perhaps they are perfectly content just as they are and simply enjoying the heat and sunshine on a lovely day in the park.
That is the mystery and the beauty of street photography. The viewer will take away from a photo what they will. We resonate with a scene and it reminds us of something or somewhere, or invokes for us a feeling of loneliness or an emotion. A reaction of some kind at least.
A photo is supposed to tell stories. For me, this one does. Many different stories in fact.
Just as I like it.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Couple Lunching: Just Another Ordinary Moment?

Couple Lunching by Pauls-Pictures

Couple Lunching, a photo by Pauls-Pictures on Flickr.
Yes it is, isn't it? An ordinary moment I mean. Mind you, eating lunch can be serous business. At least these two are really into it in a serious way.
But, yes it is an ordinary moment. Or, as I have often said or written: a "so-called ordinary moment".
In reality it is a rather special moment. I mean by this that it is a moment that, had it not been for me passing by with my camera, would not have been noticed (by anyone at all really), would be soon forgotten (by these two as they rushed away after their clearly hurried lunch break), and would certainly have gone unrecorded.
Of course it is not simply the act of recording a moment that makes it special. But look at this photo more closely. Who are these people? What is going on? Why do they seem so serious? Are they as alienated from each other as the photo suggests? Or are they just really hungry or in a hurry? And, where are they? What are they doing there? (aside from eating that is).
Questions, questions, questions. And, to be honest, there are, nor will there ever be, any answers we will ever be able to provide for these questions.
And, that is just one of the beautiful and interesting things about this photograph (and about street and social documentary photography as a whole). We are witnesses to a mere slither of time in the lives of this couple (if they are in fact a couple. Another question). In that sense we have been able to share that little slice of life with them.
And it is this that is such an honour, such a privilege for me, and for you the viewer. A connection has been made; a connection that will always be there at some level and to some degree for me and for all of you who view this photograph.
It's a bringing together really, don't you think? A joining of souls, a unification of me, these two people eating lunch, and you, the viewer.
This is the point of what I do as an artist. And I am grateful