I have had a full day, which has not been made easier by the state of my back, which went out in a spectacular fashion yesterday. I blame it on my week in front of a computer, after a week of near constant motion on the dance floor. About once a decade I throw my back out in this way, and I stagger, semi-erect until I can get myself to a chiropractor, who wasn’t of much help as it was in such spasm. Today it was enough better, and I have been walking a lot to limber it up, that he was able to make some impressive sounding crunches when he adjusted me. I am greatly relieved, and I might be able to stand upright now for my talk tonight.
I am speaking tonight at Wide World Books about travel photography, and I’m just now gathering images to illustrate what I want to talk about. I’m avoiding a "greatest hits" show, instead, I'm showing examples of situations where I see a photo coming together, I shoot through it, and past it to the other side. Somewhere in the interval is the shot. In these talks I stress using photography to get yourself closer to your experience, rather than have it be a barrier to where you are. I use the camera frequently to get into conversations with locals, and out of that interaction a great shot may, or may not, happen. I show how I use a camera to slow myself down and really look at where I am. I find ways in thich the world around me is put together that are different from home, and I delight in the photographic excuse to peruse and examine. For technical matters, I stress keeping it simple. One camera and lens. No stumble-fumbling with equipment you aren’t fully fluent with, no scanning your six lenses to see which is the one you want. You want to be travelling and in the moment, not lost in an equipment manual or a menu selection on an LCD screen.
I don’t believe in hiding my camera in my bag until I feel safe and comfortable enough to pull it out, then stashing it shamefully lest anyone think I’m a tourist. I know I’m not going to fool anyone. My attitude is: Hey, I’m a tourist. I’m wearing a camera. If it’s a dodgy neighborhood, sure, I’ll keep it out of sight, but otherwise, I am what I am. Sometimes I’m wearing two cameras. Someone who starts a conversation with me is going to be pretty sure where it’s going to go. And I always get their email address so I can send them a copy.
This will be my first time (believe it or not) that I’m presenting images with a digital projector. I’ve gone back and forth with the store about the technical stuff, but I’m never confident that it will really work. I’ve seen it go wrong too many times. I’m bringing a backup technology: a slide projector.