I want to pick up photography again. Again, because a lifetime ago I followed Audio-Visual Arts in school. I know the basics and I have an exceptionally good camera – for its price category. And now I want to take it further, becoming more and more determined.
Photography, to me, is quite like writing. Whether it’s fiction or not, my focus is to grasp an idea, an image if you will, and describe it so that you can see the details clearly before you. Often a single word is enough to steer you in the right direction and imagine the unsaid.
Photography follows the same path, but in the opposite direction. I want to capture something so that you can fill in the context. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the right one, but it has to make you pause and think about what you see without having to strain yourself wondering “what is this supposed to be?”
I think the whole photography scene has become too technical. It seems like the whole world wants to jerk off over expensive equipment and in their yuppie attitude, forget what the bloody point is because that happens to be something you can’t buy: insight.
To bring up the writing metaphor again: It’s like typing a story on the world’s most expensive computer, that’s about nothing at all. People buy cases and lenses costing fortunes, and then go out and photograph a fucking tree. Or a piece of furniture. But only its leg, to make it artistic somehow. And they add a vintage looking filter with a bigshot editing program to make it seem like they’re not so full of shit that it’s seeping out their ears.
The image is your story.
Technical skill is grammar.
Equipment is your typewriter.
These are in order of importance.
Interesting things are all around, if you go look for them. Nobody can teach you how to see. But the other two things are available at a price. There are three things I want to invest in: A camera, lenses, and so on; a portable hard drive; and education. For once, I intend not to fuck around. If I’m doing this, I’m doing it until it pays itself back somehow. I don’t care if I’m doing strangers’ wedding pictures or selling porn (in fact that just sounds fucking awesome), I don’t want to do this to become yet another facebook group contributor with pictures of a dead pigeon. I want to make people look twice and ask, “where did you take those?” And I think I can. All it takes is the decision to go through with it, which I am reluctant to take.
“I write about life, not because I think I’m so interesting, but because I think life itself, is.”
Privacy works in funny ways. My translator defines it as following:
Privacy, n. Seclusion, solitude, reclusion; state of being private, secrecy, confidentiality; freedom from harassment or disturbance.
Would that be how you define it? I don’t believe so. To me, it is more something like a state information is in, that keeps it from being noticed by anyone unintended. When you want your info to be private, I think you simply don’t want others to be aware of it.
I used to moderate a game in which it was quite easy to find out disturbingly intimate details about its players. And I did, just because I could. I found it entertaining to follow them around and observe as they spilled their most secret thoughts to those they trusted. And that which they didn’t, I would find out through other means. The internet is vast and I seem to have a knack for digging, finding out things like their marital status, home address, web site and even phone number. Not all searches were equally successful, but I’m sure they all included information not meant to be discovered by a stranger.
Mind you, I never used any of this information. I didn’t share it, save it, didn’t speak to anyone (including the parson in question) about it, and certainly didn’t use it for my own gain. I just had fun seeing how far I could go doing the simple math and building on that to reconstruct as much of their profile as I could.
Doubtlessly, they would have minded at some stage. I don’t think I ever broke any law, but my behavior could have been mistaken for that of a stalker, sooner or later. The difference is, that they never knew about it unless they asked me directly, which happened once. I think I might have scared her a little when I listed the things I knew about her, and I was far from finished.
IF YOU PUT SHIT ON THE INTERNET, ladies and gentlemen, CONSIDER IT PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE.
If you put shit up, someone or something is going to look at it. If you give out information, anywhere at all, at least think about the fact that it will most likely be stored somewhere. If not the recipient, then some server in between keeping a log of its traffic. Assume, within reason, that everything is recorded and potentially reread. This includes chat sites, social networking, even the games you play.
Facebook.com changed its privacy agreement recently, which caused an uproar of protest. Suddenly, all this private information became available to the whole world wide web by default, and changing it back became such a complicated procedure that the owner of Facebook himself suddenly found his personal pictures in public.
If you would have read that agreement to begin with, which none of these whiny dickmonkeys ever did, you would know that anything you put up on Facebook, becomes their property (which is also the case with the previously mentioned game, by the way). Which is only logic: where did you think you were uploading it to? Let me shed some light: Those servers? Not yours. You literally give these things to them and they put it up on a website, for free. It’s called a service, not an attempt to infringe on your personal space which you just put up on the fucking internet.
The only thing that keeps the stockholders from cutting the hardline and walking away with all this information, including phone numbers, addresses and sexual preferences, and selling it to the highest bidder (can you imagine the price tag??), is their written promise not to do so. You know, the one you didn’t read?
This very text is no different, I know that. If I even save the draft on my site and then delete it again, it will still be traceable for a long time, possibly even long after I died. Kind of makes me wonder how much longer my internet persona will live on than my meatspace one.
Anyway. If Mr. Obama would have written and posted what I have the past few years when he was my age, he would never have become president no matter what he would have done with it. They would have found it, and made it public. Luckily I don’t plan on a political career, but is that something you plan at all? The suspense is killing me.
The real problem here, and the reason why people wouldn’t want me or anyone else finding out their little secrets, consists of two parts.
First of all, and this matches the dictionary’s definition, people don’t like being harassed. I can totally understand that, especially since some hamsucker found my phone number and decided to stalk me for two weeks. Or was it four months? I don’t remember. That doesn’t explain why people simply don’t want others to find out the spicy details, though.
The real issue right there, is that people are afraid of being judged. That’s why they don’t want strangers to see their drunk pictures, or would most likely make a fuss about me doing some background research. I really think it’s as simple as that. Why else would everyone go apeshit the very moment their “privacy” is invaded?
As you may have guessed, I’m not big on privacy. I have to admit, once in a while I rather not be too aware of who reads the things I write, but all in all I generally don’t mind having my personal life out in the open. Whether it’s my personal information (although I’ve gotten a little more careful with that since recently), income quite far beneath the poverty line, sexual fantasies that might be a little… out there (actually I tend to keep these for myself for the sake of others),… pretty much anything, I don’t mind talking about it as long as you don’t start giving me shit. I won’t judge your ideas (within limits), so if you must judge mine, at least keep your hole shut about it.
So do I have less secrets than others? Am I more open about them? Am I a closet exhibitionist? I can’t tell. A mixture of all of the above, perhaps. Or maybe it’s the conviction that I have a strong moral compass and don’t make excuses for what I do or don’t. Judgments would be at the expense of the one passing them, not me. I seriously don’t think that nowadays, between lying, cheating and stealing, I do anything against my principles. On top of that, I don’t think these principles are antisocial in nature. So what I guess that means is that I think I’m a good person, and have little to regret or hide. Whether I’m right or not, is up to you to judge and for some deity, if there is one, to decide.
One little P.S.
I do have secrets, however few. Some things are better left unsaid (you look like a cow in that dress btw) but at least I have the common sense not to put them on a world-wide medium. At all.