A Crossing, Luang Prabang, Laos, 2012.
My photo, taken while enjoying all the time in the world to watch what other people are up to on this Earth and most likely after eating delicious street food. Best times.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, so here’s a photo I took in San Francisco earlier this year of the side of a building that looked like an Aspen. This photo was taken while I was waiting in my friend’s car, endearingly named “Honey,” in a downtown alleyway while she met with the Columbian consulate about obtaining a European visa. I watched for about half an hour as construction workers transported large pieces of plywood up to the 5th or 6th floor, using only ropes and pulleys. It was fascinating enough. We exchanged some banter and laughter, and I later thanked the nearby valet attendant for kindly letting me sit in the car, in the alley, free of charge for so long.
I snuck this photo during one of our photography lessons at the Prayer Garden Home of Hope in Bangalore, India. One of our pupils was so rapt with the lesson, that he needed a closer look.
Sigur Rós, August 9, 2012 at McMenamin’s Edgefield in Troutdale, OR
Much like life, we only get one shot. My usual M.O. at shows is to take in the sights and sounds without the intermediary of technology. There are already enough poor quality videos of live footage online, I certainly don’t feel compelled to add to the junk pile. And it always saddens me that people cannot attend a concert without holding up their camera or smartphone to document it for future playback. It annoys me when they’re standing directly in front of me. The glow of a screen is enough to momentarily distract from even the greatest of performers. So, in following my favorite rule — the Golden Rule — I usually keep my camera tucked away in my bag at shows. Even though taking photos is one of my favorite things to do, I attend shows for the unparalleled experience of live music, not to document every second of it.
I don’t know what happened in this moment, but for a second, I broke my rule. Maybe it was the colors and lights, or maybe it was because it was during the build-up of one of my favorite songs, but I reached for my camera, took one shot and said to myself, ‘that’s it.”
I beg you, concert goers, if you want to take a photo to look back at later, fine, but one should do; use your memory to capture the rest.
If my plea isn’t convincing enough, I’ll leave you with a quote from Bradford Cox from a March 7, 2012 interview with Pitchfork. I think he brings up a valid point about how documentation might affect an artist’s performance:
"The saddest thing is that nothing can happen for an audience of 400 people anymore. Now it has to be on the internet and it has to be broadcast so widely. That intimidates people. Maybe that’s the issue that makes people want to be more inhibited onstage. It makes people more self-censoring."
These ladies were kind enough to let me take their photo while we aimlessly wandered Fort Kochin. There was a large truck full of bags of either rice or concrete mix blocking the small roadway, so while we waited out the jam, we ducked into a small residential area. There are little joys waiting around every unfamiliar corner in this land.