Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bike Rides and Smile Lines

I told myself that I wasn't going to do this, to leave blogging until the last minute, but here I am, tail between my legs, the morning after I should have blogged. So here is what I should have written last night...

I have smile lines.

For those of you who know me and know me well, you know that I have been uncharacteristically serious and sullen for the past couple of months. Now for those of you who really know me, you know that I get smile lines. I have good news. They are back!

Today we started the day with a formal introduction from Gianluca and also introductions from us. He showed us some of his work chronicling some of the oldest and healthiest people in the world but he also posed a question for us. Gianluca asked us “why”. Why do we love photography? Why do we take pictures? Why should we MAKE pictures? All of these questions catalyzed a kind of self-analyzation that I’ve never done regarding photography before. I found that most of my pictures have been of things that have little meaning to me or I think just look cool.. but that isn’t what I love about photography.. so why should I be taking pictures instead of making a moment. Gianluca says we are the eyes and ears of those who aren’t with us. We CREATE pictures so that others can feel what we felt in that moment, or what our subject is feeling. Emotion. Pretty pictures are all fine and dandy, and sure there is a method to taking a decent headshot, but that isn’t what photography should be about. It should be about “writing with light” (the actual broken down definition of photography), and what we should be writing is the story of who we are and what the world around us is.

Enough of the heavy. Back to smile lines.

After we spent some time in the town and grabbed some Indian food for lunch, we headed over to the bike rental place and signed up for a bike tour of Reykjavik for all 21 of us goons. This was a disaster waiting to happen. Of course the one day we think it will be nice out, the sun decided to hide beneath the clouds and send down a windy forecast. No one got hurt except for my stomach from uncontrollable laughter. I don't think I have laughed so hard or felt so carefree in a very long time. It wasn’t real one thing that set me off, but just that first, everyone looked so ridiculous (including me) in our high visibility neon vest and bike helmet, second, that everyone was struggling so very hard to not run into people, and third, that Icelandic people kept seeming generally confused when we waved and smiled a big “HALLO!”. On the tour we learned about many of the quirks around Reykjavik including complicated relationships with elves, unique mayors that are actually just comedians, and the natural selection philosophy here. Mom, I think you would agree with their “stupidity trap” of not having rails by waterfalls so that those who are actually stupid enough to peer over too far.. well.. “If you’re going to be stupid, you’ve gotta be tough”.

Speaking of my family, I had a moment while walking around the city with my small group where I cannot remember what we were talking about but it had something to do with our opinions and, out of habit, I was laughing and raised my right hand and said “honest!” like my sister does. It made me miss her for a second, and although I know if she reads this it will go to her head, I wanted her to know that I was thinking about her, even just for a bit.

After a bit of rest and a snack to gain back our strength, we took the city bus to the annual Viking Festival! For those of you who cannot imagine what this would look like, think of the Renaissance Festival in Houston about a sixth of the size and with Nordic folk instead of Mediaeval ones. I brought only my macro lens in order to challenge myself towards being physically, and so emotionally, close to my subject. If any place was going to be our best chance to work on people photography, this was it.

I came back with some really great portraits of the Icelandic kids, dogs, and workers there at the festival. Since I had been having some trouble trying to figure out what my On Assignment should be, I think I’m playing around with the idea of faces. I like this because I hope this will challenge me to work on not only people photography but also will help to inspire me to better capture emotions while on this trip.

Ok. So I think I have written enough about that day and I’m still a little disappointed with myself that I didn’t do this on the right day but at least I’m being honest about it.

Oh, also, to be even more honest, we had to depart from the hotel a little sooner than I would have liked so most of this was actually written on the bus ride to our next adventure!

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