Undermining the subjective

Posted Thu 16 Jul

Your camera may not matter, although it helps, but certainly talent is what is required.

Do you see what I see? Does Occlude? (Who is, as it happens, an exceptionally talented photographer, and a rather clever programmer, too. Yeah, yeah, jealous, I know.) You may, or may not, already know that I spent some time recently in Marrakech. Five, ten years ago, these here pages would be full of tales and adventures, but I don’t tell such things any more. Not here, at any rate.

Yeah, there was a time I didn’t like the love, I liked the climbers,
I was no sister then, I was running out of time and one liners,
And I was afraid, like you are when you’re too young to know the time, and
So I watched the way you take your fear and hoard the horizon,
You point, you have a word for every woman you can lay your eyes on,
Like you own them just because you bought the time,
And you turn to me, you say you hope I’m not threatened

After travelling for over twelve hours, with about ninety minutes sleep, Occlude and I headed out in the early morning for a wander around Marrakech. Away from where tourists normally go, out to the ‘burbs. Or what passes as their ‘burbs. We both took our cameras, and now I am getting to the point of this post. As we walked towards the city walls, we passed sights, took pictures, chatted, used my old skool compass to navigate, but mostly took pictures.

Oh — I’m not that petty, as cool as I am, I thought you’d know this already,
I will not be afraid of women, I will not be afraid of women.

And it is the pictures I want to discuss, for my own benefit. As I might learn something by working through this post. But first! The imagery!

White donkey man

Look here

What is the first thing you notice in this picture? I like the light, the shaft that flows horizontally across the bottom third of the frame. The overall lighting is also well composed, the warming sun on the native’s back, a little specular highlight on his hat.

So now were at a club, you watch the woman dancing, she is drunk,
She is smiling and she’s falling in a slow, descending funk,
And the whole bar is loud and proud and everybodys trying, yeah.
You play the artist, saying, “Is it how she moves, or how she looks?”
I say, its loneliness suspended to our own like grappling hooks,
And as long as she’s got noise, she’s fine.
But I could teach her how I learned to dance when the music’s ended

And another image!

Transit of choice

Look there

So what is the first thing that strikes me about this one? It is too close. There isn’t enough light let in, the whole frame is more crushed, with no room to breathe. Without the splash across the subject, it seems dark and claustrophobic, even though it is an open air morning shot.

Oh — and thats not petty, as cool as I am, I thought you’d know this already,
I will not be afraid of women, I will not be afraid of women.

The choice of the red brick in the background of the first, contrasted with the green doors, helped by the pervasive tiling patterns, allows the eye to rest easily behind the foreground subject. A shame about the battered garage doors, in that they weren’t as photogenic as the ones further up the shot, but that isn’t to detract from it, more a shame that the more picturesque ones weren’t repeated.

You tried to make me doubt, to make me guess, tried to make me feel like a little less,
Oh, I liked you when your soul was bared, I thought you knew how to be scared,
And now its amazing what you did to make me stay,
But truth is just like time, it catches up and it just keeps going,

The introduction of a further figure in the second, at the head of the donkey, disrupts the balance that might have helped the crampedness of this picture, and her walking into the picture, with the driver leaving, adds an irritating friction to the overall effect.

And so I’m leaving, you can find out how much better things can get,
And if it helps, I’d say I feel a little worse than I did when we met,
So when you find someone else, you can try again, it might work next time,

The almost pressure of looking at the second is negated entirely by the lazy ambiance of the first. The sense of unhurried workday beginnings compared to a restrictive and suffocating journey. Given there is only a few metres of difference between the shots, it seems to have not only altered the mood, but the entire outlook has changed. Two different eyes, two very different takes.

You look out of the kitchen window and you shake your head and say low,
“If I could believe that stuff, I’d say that woman has a halo,”
And I look out and say, “Yeah, she’s really blond,”
And then I go outside to join the others, I am the others,

Photography is all about light, and how the light hits the sensor. How to see light, and capture it. The first does, the second pretends to. Neither has been cropped, neither has been post-processed, and even at that, the naturality of the first exceeds the forced (almost intimate) closeness of the second. I am sure others could do a better analyse of these, but that will do me for now. I might do this again, as we took enough shots in the same areas that I could do.

I was originally going to use my oranges versus his oranges, but alas I did a portrait shot there, and it doesn’t fit in with my nice grid layout here. Or it does, but it stretches down the page too much. Ah well.

I don’t like my writing any more. But I still like writing. There are other places, at the end of the circle.

Oh — and that’s not easy, I don’t know what you saw, I want somebody who sees me,
I will not be afraid of women, I will not be afraid of women.

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