Portrait of Udaipur

No silly story or much worthwhile insight coming your way in this here post. I will mention that I’m writing this from Cusco, Peru, and will likely take to the streets here with the camera for some portraits soon. Udaipur, India has some of the nicest streets to take to I’ve known and was where I first really battled with the moral questions involved with taking pictures of individuals. Working as a reporter, I had a press pass and free reign to take pictures of all the people in a small Montana, USA county without asking. Sure, 110% of rural Montanans are armed at any given time and taking pictures of them for a newspaper remains a physical risk, but flying to a foreign country to take pictures of people in the street for a blog presents a different dilemma. You can ask and get someone to pose, or snap away without asking – the choice is yours. There’s middle ground where you can get permission and hang out and catch them off-guard but that’s still not exactly candid – and maybe not exactly honest. I asked permission of the individuals in this photo set. Of the crowds I did not, nor did I of the elephant. So here I am in a new place where I may live for a while, thinking about right and wrong again, about what constitutes art, what constitutes journalism and who has the right to privacy and when. Hell, I myself have turned down requests for photos and interviews that nobody would ever see (as I’m not famous or newsworthy) due to my own distrust of photographers and journalists. If you look up Udaipur, you’ll see photos of the beautiful lake, the famous hotel, the temples, palaces, other scenery and architecture. You’ll get the same impression if you look up Cusco (plus 5000 pictures of Machu Picchu, ahem). But it’s the regular folks that make a city what it is. Here’s to finding a respectful way to introduce people of one place to people of another. Thoughts and comments on this topic are encouraged.

2 thoughts

  1. Portraits have enough story themselves, probably different one for each of us… Mistery, confussion, uncertainty behind these colorful streets, under the gaze and expression of these people. But as we say it in Spanish, “una mirada dice más que mil palabras”. Thanks for sharing! Waiting for the portrait of Cusco! 🙂

    • MZ, que puedo decir? Gracias por el comentario. I’m with you — there are a million stories to make of those eyes and plenty to feel – I guess that’s where photos leave you, with something concrete and plenty to create yourself — even if part the story is the subject’s reaction to the camera and the goofy gringo holding it. I finally got out into Cusco with the camera the other day. Look forward to sharing that with you. Thanks again for the support and the thoughts!

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