Faces Of Chile
“She was not one for emptying her face of expression. ” J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey
Photos by Christopher Wilkinson.
“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all”
Today I have nothing.
I have written about packing and not packing, carry on luggage, check in luggage, travel clothes, travel companions, souvenirs, my bracelet collection, my Starbucks collection, my good luck charms, LA – where I live, Manhattan and Brooklyn where I am from, places I love, places I hate, my mother, my dog, people who have died, animals that have been killed, airports, airplanes, stewardesses, airport security, things I’ve learned from traveling and not traveling, hotel rooms and things Ive left behind in them, travel addiction, people who think they are black, superstitions, proverbs and quotes from around the world, movies, books, children’s books and songs that have inspired me to travel, food, restaurants, turkey burgers, acting like a tourist, not acting like a tourist, tourist traps, tourist attractions, holidays, traveling alone,eating alone, random photos, being a godmother, travel etiquette, third world countries, countries that have changed names, countries not to travel to, misspelled countries, auto-correct, photography, art, urban art, music, world affairs terrorists and should you blame your parents if you are one, philosophy, spirituality, religion, prejudice, meditation, things to say and not say to a world traveler, places I haven’t been to, bucket lists, top ten everything, travel problems, imaginary places, movie locations, trip planning, weddings, World Cup, Olympics, first world problems, blogging, Nellie Bly, touching strangers, things i like, things I dislike, the 100th monkey, coffee, sunrises, how to avoid the paparazzi, travel tv shows and people in the world.
I don’t know why they call it writer’s block. I have idea block. I could start reblogging pieces, post other writers, post more instagram photos, read more books and think about writing. I could hope that this is only a temporary setback, go out and do something and then write about it – like move to Spain, go to a wedding in Africa or perhaps the new Broad Museum in LA.
“On the late afternoon streets, everyone hurries along, going about their own business. Who is the person walking in front of you on the rain-drenched sidewalk? He is covered with an umbrella, and all you can see is a dark coat and the shoes striking the puddles. And yet this person is the hero of his own life story. He is the love of someone’s life and what he can do may change the world. Imagine being him for a moment. And then continue on your own way.” Vera Nazarian
There is this moment that happens when you are at a tourist attraction anywhere in the world. Someone asks you to take a picture of them in front of it. Sometimes they are alone, a couple , friends or a family. It is often in pantomime because they don’t speak English. Other times, they just hand you a camera and say something you don’t understand – but you do. I usually ask them to take one of me after. I can never have too many pictures in front of monuments or Unesco World Heritage Sites. You share this moment with a stranger who has decided to go to the same place at the same time that you did. You move on, but what if you didn’t?
What happens if you ask complete strangers to pose in a portrait together in ways that are usually reserved for close friends and loved ones?
This is what New York photographer Richard Renaldi wanted to find out.
He set up his camera on a street corner and asked people who passed by to pose as friends, lovers and families.
Richard Renaldi has been working on this series of photographs since 2007.
He creates spontaneous relationships between strangers and photographs them.
The project is called “Touching Strangers.”
The images are beautiful and strange and last only through the moment of the photograph.
He has taken these photographs all over the United States.
He raises many questions about positive human connection in a diverse society.
What is it that separates us and what brings us together?
I wonder what will happen the next time someone asks me to take a photo of them in front of something and I ask them to take one with me.
“Better to see something once, than to hear about it a thousand times.” Mongolian proverb
Things I Have Learned About Travel Photography
Don’t drop your camera.
.Always have your camera with you. You will not get a good shot, if the camera is in the room and they bring the baby elephants on the beach in Phuket. Sometimes you get lucky. You happen to stumble upon a scene at just the right moment. If you forgot your camera, are out of film, or your digital card is full, if you have to fumble around getting the right lens on, the moment may be gone . ( Nara, Japan )
Learn how to set your flash. ( I wrote this one for myself) Learn as much about how your camera works as you can. Im going to make this a New Years resolution for 2013. It seems more doable than giving up my vices. (Maryinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia-or anywhere)
Ask before you take a photo of someone. I get around this one by taking a lot of photos of people from the back or by pretending I am taking someone else. My fear of rejection always keeps me from getting the perfect shot. (Kyoto,Japan)
All Buddha images, no matter how small, tacky or ruined are sacred and should never be used as a backdrop for your photo. (Ayutthaya, Thailand)
People in tribal costume ( or any kind of costume) usually expect to be paid for a photo. There are the one dollar take a photo tribes and the two dollar take a photo tribes. In fact almost anyone in a costume or native dress, expects to be paid for a photo ( live statues on Las Ramblas in Barcelona are particularly nasty if they see you trying to take a photo from afar) Sometimes that is how they earn a living, you have to decide if you would pay for someone else’s photo, are you willing to pay for your own? (Embera Tribe, Panama)
This one seems like a given. Charge your battery and while you are doing that charge your cell phone as well. ( another personal reminder). Bring an extra battery and memory card.
It seems like a good idea when you are traveling to take a picture standing in front of every monument, landmark, historical site, statue etc . When you get home, they will be your most boring photos and you will have so many of them. It is a different story when you are taking those same pictures of your very cute kids. Also, don’t make that face that everyone makes in their facebook pictures-. you know the one that I am talking about.
When taking pictures of family and friends in front of something, you have to strike a balance. You don’t want to say that dot in the picture is you near the Sagrada Familia. You don’t want it to be so close that it could have been taken in your living room. ( Red Square,Moscow, Russia – I know which speck I am in this picture – Louie could be anywhere.)
IPhoto is an excellent thing to use, It works well for centering your main object, framing your landscape and sometimes cutting the heads off of people who are always in the way of your perfect shot. At least in my Panama Canal shots they are wearing Panama Hats so it went with the theme
Sometimes taking pictures can really get in the way of appreciating what you are seeing. I spend a lot of time and money on being in the present moment . In Naoshima, Japan you are not allowed to take photos indoors or out in the museum spaces because they want you to experience the here and now.
Remember when you return home, there is no friend or family member who wasn’t on the trip that wants to see all your photos. We don’t need to see them all on facebook. Just pick a few, enough for us to be jealous of the fact that we weren’t with you, and not so many that we never need to see the place for ourselves.
Photos are great, but memories last just as long.