Art ‘n Ethics ‘n Mags
So I got my family’s blessing to go through with this photography plan. Yes, I asked. After all, I’ll be spending their money, not mine. Okay that’s not true; that money is long gone and it will take me a while before getting out of debt. For that starter budget I got me:
Ta daa. I need to revise my financial plan.
Either way, I’m glad they gave me the green light. Not just because of money, but moral support, as well. I think they’re happy to see me actually pursue some constructive goal. Vibrant as I may think my life is, they usually don’t see more than me still working that same job as before.
My father often told me how sad he thought it was that I didn’t manage anything serious with the education I got back when I had my video camera. I made some pretty nice shots, even with that cheap thing, and even taped the formal events he organized. His reaction when I said I wanted to follow a course, was very encouraging.
I can use this kind of support from a family that generally doesn’t really get what I’m about. Finally it’s something tangible to them, and they’ve been nuking me with good advice and positive words. No cold hard cash, though. Damn.
The moral obligation I got myself in might stimulate me, too. And with my habit of going “fuck this let’s find something more interesting,” I can use all the stimulation I can get.
“Take nothing but photo’s, leave nothing but footprints.”
Photography is a complex mixture of technique, technology and creativity and takes a long time to master. It’s no coincidence that the real artists out there take it very seriously and stick to all sorts of self-implied rules and unwritten laws. The same goes for a family of photographers called “urban explorers”, for whom I have a huge respect, even outside photography. Entering abandoned buildings and areas, often in the pitch dark or with real danger involved, takes balls. And, they too, have a set of ethics they stick by.
“Do not force your entry (you are not a burglar). Do not steal (you are not a thief). Do not leave anything behind or leave your mark (you are not a vandal).”
I read this recently in an article and found it rather amusing. I could follow the photographer interviewed in everything he said, but at this point I just thought, “He’s saying this because he knows it will get published.” And even if he did not, and even if he sticks by it, and even despite the fact that I admire him, I won’t abide by any of these three rules.
Crime is crime because there are victims. Turn it any way you want, no matter what the law says, crime only has effect when somebody, somewhere feels like he is wronged by your actions. Theft, murder, whatever: Laws are made to protect the victims. In my eyes, if there is no victim, there is no crime.
Now don’t jump to conclusions: I don’t go anywhere simply for the sake of breaking in, stealing or leaving some tag. But if the gates are closed, I will climb them. If I know items are permanently abandoned and nobody will miss them, I consider them fair game.
I see why most people disagree with me: it’s because they were raised to do so. With my limited education and moral guidance, I composed my ethics though experience and while I detest antisocial behavior, I will ignore the law and common regulations in favor of my own (as long as I don’t get caught, obviously). I admire a man who lives by his principles and I try hard to do the same,… but mine are simply different. Don’t get me wrong, I try to have respect for the photographers that come after me, the locals, or the owners; but if neither are involved, I’ll do whatever the fuck I want, thanks.
This is a dangerous way of seeing things, because I rely on something else than the status quo, which is proven to work to adequate (for most) extent. By the rationale of the law, if “everyone” just made up their own rules, anarchy (the bad kind) would ensue and society couldn’t survive. And I agree with that completely. But I’m not “everybody”, or even just anybody. I’m me. I am capable of living with people without harming them or myself.
Get this: I’ve been breaking laws since puberty (back when it was just plain cool) and it has never come around to bite me in the ass. Why is this?
It’s because no one notices. The harm I cause is marginal if even existent. If workers climb their scaffolding, they will never know that I was there. And if by some means they do know, they certainly won’t complain about it. There’s just nothing to worry about for them. Yet still, the police would stop me if they saw what I was doing because they assume the worst: that I am out to steal from the yard or buildings, or cause damage. I’m not. I just want to take pictures, and there was a fence in my way.
I never thought I’d be one of those morons who collects magazines of whatever hobby they have. I can understand being into stamps or hentai collectibles (to a limited degree) but to go so far as to buy magazines about them? What could possibly be so interesting that they can fill 40 pages with it?
As of this moment, I have about five of them laying around in various places because I forget them all the time. In one month’s time.
I’m not one to start buying whatever just because it seems vaguely related, but god damnit these clever bastards always put technical tips in them, which I am currently soaking up like a dry sponge in a urinal. Additionally, I am posting my questions (and countless examples) at professional forums to get the harshest criticism I can get. My latest challenge entry (which I thought was kind of nice) ended up on 94th place out of 99, though, I might not try that again too soon.
I’m hoping to improve as much as I can, in the least amount of time. My equipment, but more importantly, myself. I can’t help but wonder what will turn up next, and I can barely curb my excitement. Looking retarded with magazines under my arm is just a sacrifice I’ll have to make.