But for now I am interested in the whole experience of travel as seen through the eyes of the camera. I have been observing myself, my brother, other travellers and tourists and asking the question: What are we trying to capture on our tiny screens? The obvious answer is ‘the beauty of these places’, or ‘memories on film’ or more ambitiously ‘the essence of a place or a culture’.
I take a lot of photos myself; my brother outdoes me fourfold; the wives take almost none. They seem to think that the cultural experience is a multi-sensory experience. They shop, taste, smell, see, hear and think and communicate at the same time – it’s the old women multi-tasking cliché in action. My camera, on the other hand, can only capture framed versions of this much larger experiences. No matter how artistic the intent, each photo exists only as a moment in its own right. It’s what the image neglects to show which is the real story.
What I love about writing is that it is a reflective process which attempts to capture the essence of, or the narrative of the experience at distance. It allows the writer to mull and shape the competing mixture of events of the day. The photographer must make instant decisions and cannot be fully within the experience, always being the observer rather than the participant.
Don’t get me wrong I love photography and get a buzz when by some fluke I capture a special moment, be it a human interaction, a beautiful place, a quirky moment or just the right play of light on a laneway.
I just wish I could reproduce what I have experienced in my head. It would be much simpler.