March 26, 2010

The county courthouse burned down yesterday.  It was built in the 1800s.  Its a huge loss.

A professional photographer was there.  Not from the press, just an artist.  Her artistic photos of the fire made me furious.  What is that about?  Why not make art?  I don't know.  But photography is so easy.  Its kind of a cheap whore in a lot of ways.  And to stand there thinking about composition when a thousand hearts were breaking and history was dissolving....  I don't know.  Its not fair of me.  But it seems really callous and self serving of the artist.   I mean, sometimes a camera arrives at a disaster or an important political moment and the shutter is pressed and everyone is grateful for the record.  That's one thing.  But walking around the circle noticing the excellent path of the hose juxtaposed with the diffuse pattern of smoke - barf.  It makes me feel like throwing up.  Put your camera down, Babe.  Take someone's hand instead.  You don't want to profit from this moment.   Do you?

6 comments:

Cecelia (CC) said...

nodding. the camera objectifies. Been there with you. I was in the coal counties working with folks on home repair. there were so many "great shots". I took some. I even hung some once in a show - only people I loved. The gritty side was always there, and worse when the subjects turn around and objectify themselves (internalized oppression) because of affirmation there. Womens' bodies, same thing. "tale someone's hand"....yes. I went today, to feed the animals, and see the loss. This is almost personal in our house; what a kick in the gut. There is a lot left; they will rebuild. Wow. I was told at work when in Raleigh. I stood there speechless. I walked out.

Katherine said...

CC, do you know this guy? I saw his post on the fire this morning. For some reason, his shots aren't offensive to me. Maybe it was too raw two days ago? Maybe he's just more talented. (Not that non offensive equals talent.)

Anyhow, it has to be personal for your family. Ugh, I'm so sorry, love.

Katherine said...

Oh yeah, the link:
http://cricketbread.com/blog/

Trace said...

Katherine -

I tried to make the photos about the people that were there and their reactions to the fire. A lot of the story for me was that it was hard to find someone there who did not have some sort of camera - cell phone, mini-video camera, professional, news, etc. I felt like I was watching them watch the fire.

This post doesn't really belong on Cricket Bread. Just felt it had to go somewhere though. I know that clicking the shutter is easy, but the way that I personally feel that the world looks goes way beyond the shutter. For many professionals out there, the world looks like dollar signs and the camera is just a tool to make the world into that. I want to show other people what the world looks like to me and how the other side of the lens is not just a commercial for selling something.

Katherine said...

Trace, perhaps its all about intention? Like life in general, your intentions will betray you every time. Or I should say, intentions shine through, don't they? And I think your post did belong on Cricket Bread. After all, farms don't exist in a vacuum but in community.

Cecelia (CC) said...

Hi Trace, Thanks Kat. Left Trace behind at Biofarm; nice to relink - never been to his blog before. Kat, are you annoyed with my metaphor?