Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tate Britain ( with an Entourage)

        What happens when we are not behind our iphones, snapping away of the enigma that is London? We get followed by a camera man into the Tate Britain (cue the rain). After walking up the steps ( for the entry shot) and then back up them to actually enter the museum, I found myself quite aware of being followed. More than followed...watched. My reactions were not instinctual, and being cognizant of the cameras had me second guessing my words. It started on the Water Taxi over from Shakespeare's Globe Theater. We were told to be looking around the water and pointing at different landmarks as we recognized them, and to comment on these landmarks. The actions did not come naturally to me. " To take a picture is to have an interest in things as they are, in the status quo remaining unchanged ( at least for as long as it takes to get a " good" picture" ( Susan Sontag, On Photography).An example that relates to this quote occurred when Professor Makey finished lecturing on a specific painting. The cameraman needed to get shots of the actual lecture, so Makey had to continue talking to the class. It rousted a few laughs from the students, and we went on with the rest of the tour.  While paying attention to the lectures and art, there were moments I forgot the cameraman was there. When the camera turned toward me as a reminder of his presence, I began to wonder how I looked on the other end of the lens. There was a level of distraction, but also some intrigue. Thinking about films and photographs, I played through all the pictures I had taken since being in London. " Photographs furnish evidence. Something we hear about, but doubt, seems proven when we're shown a photograph of it" ( Sontag). This rings true for me as I take photographs of everything I see in London. I want proof to show people at home, as if to say, " These places really do exist! Look!" That's the reason I have a roll of about 15 selfies in front of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. I want to show that I saw the Trooping of the Colour and was part of the celebration. Sontag writes,  "photography has become one of the principal devices for experiencing something, for giving an appearance of participation". This has two meanings in my interpretation. We either use pictures as a way of substituting the fact that we were absent at an event, or we use it to make it look like we were more involved in something than we actually were. This has become more apparent in recent years with the accessibility of cell phones and high quality cameras.

    When the cameraman told us he was leaving, I admit to feeling relief. It also made me reflect on how many people I have taken pictures of during my time in London, and if they felt the way I did when I found myself on the other side of the lens.

No comments:

Post a Comment