A continuation of the previous article on tourist location photographability.
Perhaps as a reflection of personal interest, I was certainly more drawn to the urban scenery element of the place rather than the rides or the fantasy areas; none of the people really fit the scene – i.e. looked ‘in place’, so I left them out (think 1940s New York or 1960s Hollywood being full of Asians in tank tops and shorts). The results are a slightly surreal and empty environment; I think it reflects my recent and increasing fascination with form and light over action. We all go through subject and stylistic shifts in our photographic journey as we explore new things; having shot a lot of street, cinematic and reportage work in recent years, perhaps it’s time for a change.
Are these images sterile, empty, inhuman, harsh even? Probably more than just a little; but I don’t see that as being a bad thing as I feel they are quite an accurate reflection of the environment itself: artificial, antiseptic and just a little tacky. People, where they appear, are almost commoditized and anonymous: just another punter going to escape from one constrictive reality to another; a little ironic, really. It’s also quite possible that I’m just bitter and cynical and no longer able to consciously suspend disbelief. Being outside corporate for some time changes your perspective, priorities and world view drastically. I can’t help but think it’s also an occupational hazard when a good portion of your job is to make things appear better than good: lustworthy, even.
The pregnant skies and rain probably didn’t help things much, either.
Instead, I did my best to find things of interest to shoot in the more realistic looking areas of the park; 1940s New York was probably meant to channel visions of Gotham, Marilyn Monroe and King Kong; instead, the strong colors and shadows after the rain made me think of Saul Leiter – which perhaps, in the end, was even better.
We photographers are really quite strange people. MT
Visit the Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including workshop and Photoshop Workflow videos and the customized Email School of Photography; or go mobile with the Photography Compendium for iPad. You can also get your gear from B&H and Amazon. Prices are the same as normal, however a small portion of your purchase value is referred back to me. Thanks!
Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards. All rights reserved