Sunday, April 13, 2008

Is an overly-insistent claim of averageness pretentious?

I haven't written much in the last few days so I thought I would write about an idea for a book I had involving myself and a friend.

My friend is very much into photography. I feel a little strange saying that because I was into photography, not quite to the same extent, but still enthusiastic and willing to put extra time and money into taking the perfect shot. It must be said that I thought the perfect shot could be taken simply by taking many photos of the same object. I remember using a roll of 36 to shoot three or four things and how disappointing it was, weeks later, to open the pack of developed photos and see the same tree or bird ten times in a row, slightly different, all good, but nothing exciting.

Anyway, I know more about photography now but don't pursue it in the same way anymore.

My friend, married but childless has a set of relatively high-end cameras. I said he was childless, but really he has adopted the cameras and treats them much as I treat my little guy.

He is also taking a photography class and studying the work of famous photographers (and more than just the nudy photos!)

His work has taken him to look for interesting contrasts in light and texture and, well, I'm not sure what.

And that is the idea for my book.

Last year, around this time, we went to a temple in Sokcho and took many pictures. One thing that stands out for me, though, was the way he turned his back on the white-capped mountain, with its bits of green and new purple flowers, and ignored the riot of colours of the temple and instead shot a twisted bit of rusty wire.*

This is what our book would be about. We would go to beautiful places and I would shoot, in a generic style but clearly and mostly competently the backgrounds, while he would shoot the light under a door pushing away shadow, or, um, something. I would also shoot him at work, although most of those shots would be of him behind his camera pointing at something not caught in the quality of my photo.

The whole book would display his artiness and my lack of comprehension. To put us both in a negative light, his pretentiousness and my wilful ignorance. The auteur and the layman, the specialist and the generalist.

In the course of the book there might even be a character arc. Would I become more knowledgeable and begin to understand what the heck my friend was thinking or would he, uh, whatever the lessening of his character of photos would be?

My suggestion for this book to him didn't go well. He's not interested. Oh, well.

If any publishing execs are reading this and interested in the concept, offer me money and I will try again to win my friend over to the idea.
* While at the temple, he did take a few landscape photos and some shots of me. Naturally, for the sake of the book's concept, we would focus (pun intended) on our differing styles. Naturally too, the photos of me were well done - a challenge with my features and terrible poses in front of any camera, but expected with his skills.
Oh, if my unnamed friend wants his name here, please leave a comment or an email ( although I am worried the hypothetical publishing execs might try to cut me out of the deal if they know who you are and can deal with you directly).

1 comment:

Masuro said...

It might be fun to print up a few copies for ourselves but I don't think I'd want to do it as a serious project for publishing. Anyway, going somewhere to take pictures together sounds good.