Street Scene

Dear J-

At the zoo yesterday we ran into traffic both ways; there was some sort of fundraiser walk-in-the-zoo with the attendant free admission, and kids under 11 were free with paid adult admission, so coming and going was spent stewing a bit in the unburnt hydrocarbon haze of idling vehicles.  It’s an object lesson in patience, letting people in front of you and pushing your way in as needed; though you may want to glue your bumper to the car in front, all you’re doing is giving someone else a headache.  Folks here in SoCal are irrationally protective of that fifteen feet in front of their car.

I keep repeating the same themes, which may be a consequence of frequency.  Life is hard enough without acting like a jackass towards others, for one, and we wouldn’t be so quick to be rude in cars if the offended party could talk back to us.  The more I drive the more I realize that for all our connections — around the world, nigh-instantaneous electrons weaving our modern life — we’ve become isolated from other people in ways we haven’t anticipated.  We put animals in cages for our entertainment, but we put cages around ourselves for our supposed protection.

Monkey Dip 2700 -sm

I’ve never been much good at street photography; part of me is infinitely embarrassed at the thought of asking permission to capture some stranger’s life, and the other part believes in exactly what Kirk Tuck warns about — that you need to be some kind of stealthy ninja, stealing shots based on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle:  the very act of observation disrupts the data you’re trying to capture.  So if street photography is inextricably linked to the interaction between photographer and subject, I need to cultivate that relationship, rather than deny it ever exists; likewise our connections, whether virtual or personal, keep us honest.



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