An Idea So Good My Head Would Explode If I Even Began to Know What I Was Talking About
For once, a coherent explanation of
Why I Hate Photography (Excluding The Professional Kind, Which Is Pretty Sweet)
In Three Parts
1. It’s obnoxious. I, Allison Clarke, as of September 20th 2004 and for a great percentage of my life, am and have been a tourist. I do not like being a tourist. As a matter of fact, I can think of few things I dislike more than showing up somewhere and obviously not belonging - still worse if people can tell from whence I’ve came (the next time some well-intentioned waiter starts taking my order in English I will cry). However, despite my status as the global equivalent of ants at everyone else’s picnic, I am a good tourist. I learn the language of the places I’m going and even if I’m not proficient in it, I try. This means I resist at all costs speaking English to non-English speakers. Duh. However, more important to me still than not being an arrogant American (or trying not to be one) is contrasting myself with the bad tourists by not standing in the middle of the street (or the park, or the plaza, or the whathaveyou) with a crappy Nikon and an idiotic grin. The idea that everyone around you should have to stop walking and look out for you while you make a fool of yourself makes me cringe. Still more cringe-worthy (and Clarkeian to boot) is the thought of everyone looking at you, period. Don’t look at me, I won’t bother you, I’ll spend my money and finis, ok? No pictures (and especially no pictures of places of worship).
2. It’s expensive. This isn’t so bad, really, but I’m cheap and...and...yeah, we’ll just leave it at that. If I’m going to take pictures, they’re going to be good pictures - arty pictures - and I’m not going to use the crappiest digital on the market to do it. I might even buy myself a real film camera and develop my own pictures, but until that is a financial possibility, I’ll abstain.
3. And most importantly - most importantly of all, this one - it’s inadequate.
Here’s the thing. I can take a picture of a mountain or a tree or maybe even a sunrise, if I get up that early. But -
The quiet whisper of the breeze through forests of fern and eucalyptus -
The scraping feel of barnacles underfoot in the search for tide pools -
The taste of a grape I picked off a vine hidden on a dirt path -
The cool of a morning whose principal theme is mist rolling over the valley below -
The smell of a mountain road lined with apple trees so overladen the fruit rolls, unpicked, onto the pavement -
The mysterious, adventurish feeling of hiking 45 minutes through fog so thick you can’t see the road -
The novelty of eating lunch on a rock at the end of the world afterward-
The unassumingness of a village in which every house has, by requisite, at least a grape arbor and a goat -
The everpresent and underwhelming grumble of a rocky sea far below -
A picture can’t express that to you.
And neither can my writing.
And that is why I cannot blog to you about Galicia.