PHOTOGRAPHY: Seeing Simple Scenes Differently

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Cafeteria Seating at Schipol – ilagardien©engagé

By Ismail Lagardien

There are times when the simplest, the most every-day scene, stands out, and presents itself – intact. There were any number of these arrangements (above) at a cafeteria at Schipol Airport.

What makes photography special is that the most ordinary, the most banal scenes almost create themselves, and present themselves intact in the photographer’s mind. This, surely, is the power that lies where the creative impulse and the gesture of photography intersect, and when the photographer captures something that everyone looks at every day, but sees it differently and does something more than.

Brutalist architecture of the University of Johannesburg. ilagardien©engagé

On the beachfront, were I live in Port Elizabeth, there are everyday scenes that, when isolated from its surroundings, photography thrives, as much as it does, on decontexualisation. This is one of the reasons why photographs often need a good caption. Below is an everyday scene on the beachfront in Port Elizabeth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TripAdvisor Make Money Because of Free User Reviews

 

An old pic of me playing hockey on the Fox River in Wisconsin.

By Ismail Lagardien

I have posted the occasional review on Tripadvisor, but never with any serious intent. It seems to me that Tripadvisor should, at least, start paying people to write reviews. To be sure, they’re making money through their site, and travelers don’t seem to gain anything, other than the belief that they are getting a place to air their thoughts.

Having spent most of my adult life as a writer of sorts, and most recently writing for newspapers or online sources for free, I am seriously reconsidering these little contributions to the Tripadvisor website. So, from now on I should put them all on this blog space. If I can write for other websites for free, I might as well do it on my own site…. It should encourage me to write more for this site.

As it goes, I travel to Iceland, Holland and Belgium next week. Instead of placing comments, reviews on Tripadvisor, I will share it on my own blog. Xa!

 

The Pig Butcher Around Midnight

Malacca, Malaysia. September 2012. I woke up at around midnight. It was a long flight. I couldn’t sleep any longer. The sheet was stuck between my legs. I got dressed. I went for a walk through the backstreets. I peered into a room. And watched a butcher chop up pigs. I shot a few frames and walked away. I was awake for another two days after that.

The Pig Butcher from i lagardien on Vimeo.

If I can find the pictures on one of my old storage drives I may make a more creative presentation with sound.

Short Takes on Pictures: Morning in an Istanbul Bar

5 January 2017. I recently read a story on the power of a single photograph, published by Time Magazine. The Time story was inspired by an exhibition, One Image, described as a pièce de résistance, featuring just one photograph, a seemingly inconsequential, blurred image of a young girl sat on a deck chair. It recounts how, with the ubiquity of cellphone cameras, we are swamped, daily, by hundreds of images. The writer presents the one image, this particular case, as an experiment to force us to look at one image, and push us to look more closely at the back story of the picture. One Image was part of a larger exhibition, Podróż do nieśmiertelności fotografii: Photography Never Dies (The Journey to Immortality: Photography Never Dies) held at the Main Railway Station in Wroclaw, Poland.

The story drew my attention to the very many pictures I have made over the years, and especially, to the ‘back story’ of each picture or set of pictures. It also reminded me of the way that I have drifted away from photography, the act of making pictures, towards the philosophy and sociology of photography. I want to share, then, short stories on some of the pictures I have made in places around the world, as a way to give greater meaning to what I originally considered to be the time and spaces between photographs.

Notwithstanding the catchy idiom that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ (Read a piece on this meme, here) there are times when a caption, or a short story on the context of a photograph tells us more than what is depicted in the image. Sometimes, as with the photograph, below, it simply tells a story. This, then, is the first in a series of short takes on the back stories of pictures, and short takes on photographs.

Morning in an Istanbul Bar

I was sitting deep inside a bar in Istanbul drinking coffee. It was a cold December morning. A man walked into the bar. He was bundled in a red parka. He sat down, ordered a beer and lit a cigarette. He took a sip of beer. A picture of Kemal Ataturk on the back wall of the bar flickered in pink fluorescent light. He took another sip. He had a toke. A street car sped by, barely two metres from the man. He did not flinch. Nobody flinched. There were three of us in the bar. The barman was arranging classes on the counter. The man was lost in reverie. He took a sip. He took a toke. Kemal blinked in pink luminescence.