Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Sep 26 2014

travels and travails

I recently took a break from browsing Internet content that could theoretically summon horrible bots to my computer to read Eric Kim’s description of his jet-setting travails. Every day he is meeting internationally famous people, and, damnit, the poor boy just can’t get a moment to himself to just go out and shoot! In the most noble fashion, however, Eric shrugs at this sacrifice, foregoing developing his own vision in solitude and instead plugging away on his mission to promote this thing he calls “street photography”.

I couldn’t help but note the contrast with my own travels. To me, the best kind of trip is open-ended, blanks schedules and vague goals, if any. When I went to Tokyo this last time, I did contact a few people in the photography community there, people who are constantly Doing Great Things Mentioned Frequently Online, but everyone was too busy to meet up. Of course I got to hang out with old friends like Yas and Louis, which was nice. Yas is always into interestingly bizarre things, and one of the things I appreciate most about Louis is that he puts a lot of thought into everything he says, making for very thought-provoking conversations (unless you count my meager contributions).

In any case, the more I thought about it, the happier I was that I wasn’t beholden to visiting bunches of people, free to wander the streets unnoticed, with no agenda, no meetings to attend, no keeping an eye on my watch (yes, I wear a watch; I hate having to pull out my phone just to check the time), eating at whatever time I was hungry at whatever place I happened across. If I’d had an agenda such as someone like Eric or Zack Arias or whomever, I would have gotten a lot less out of my time there than I did.

This is, of course, just me. Others may be “people people,” people who are more comfortable around other people, who derive feelings of security, safety, confidence and warmth from other people, who depend on those sources for whatever comfort they may feel. I am not such a person, as any of the few people who really know me can attest. There’s nothing inherently wrong with either type of personality. I am personally attracted to the art, photography, writing, what have you, that comes from people who tend to be loners, people who are acerbic and cranky if they hang around people too much. Difficult people. People who can see their surroundings clearly because they aren’t always busy wondering where they fit in. They know they don’t fit in, and never will. Even if they could, they wouldn’t get anything out of it.

Some of these have become famous as photographers, writer, etc. Vivian Maier was such a person, and even if she’d gotten her work in front of the right eyes at the time, she most likely wouldn’t have gotten anywhere simply because nobody wanted the hassle of dealing with her. And because she wasn’t already known, how could she become famous? She didn’t come from a rich family like Cartier-bresson or Eggleston or many of the others. She did what she could, and as much of what she loved as possible without sacrificing her dignity, unlike many others. Her story, including the most recent chapters, in which the vultures begin trying to peck apart any of the resulting fortune, is not surprising to anyone who has seen enough of the world and how things work.

In other news, the parents of a friend of mine are in town for my friend’s wedding tomorrow, which I will be attending. They hail from central Florida, not far from where I went to high school, so it was nice to meet up and chat about the area, which I haven’t seen for over two decades. After the wedding I will be rushing back to Taipei to try and catch the last part of the Daniel Pearl event at the Hakka Culture Park, but it’s going to be an iffy thing.

Everyone in my office is all in a tizzy about the new iPhone. Me, I’m sticking with my old iPhone 4. It works, and that’s enough for me.

posted by Poagao at 4:26 pm  

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