I know. Its a song (by Brother Love). But the thought often comes to mind these days, when we are traveling the world. Probably because we don’t often go to “out-of-the-way” places. We go to known attractions. And world tourism – at least before the pandemic – was at an all-time high. In fact, some of the most sought after destinations (like Venice and Santorini) are (or were) actively seeking ways to limit tourism on their islands. Understandably. Cruise ships and masses of people are taxing the infrastructures and the shear beauty of places like this. I have read, anecdotally, that the canals of Venice have actually cleared up, with the lack of visitors during the pandemic. It is a bit of a dilemma for me. I see places and I want to go there and photograph. And as such, I am perhaps adding to the problem.
There are some places that are still crowded, but perhaps less so. One of them seemed to be Bruges, Belgium when we were there, although my shot of the tourboat might suggest otherwise 🙂 . After visiting busy places like Paris, London, Dublin and Amsterdam, it was a nice change to wonder the comparatively quiet streets of Bruges, and to sample some local beer, chocolate and wines.
t seems like ages ago, but this was taken on the lifeboat deck of our first ever Mediterranean Cruise, aboard a Princess Cruise Ship. As I post this, I have just learned (not surprisingly) that our scheduled, “Canary Islands” cruise has been cancelled. Disappointed, but certainly not shocked, I cannot wait until things get back to some semblance of “normal” and we are able to travel again. In the meantime, I will have the memories through photographs.
Is this the Caribbean? Or is it the Mediterranean? 2013 was perhaps the most far-reaching travel year we have ever had. We started in the Caribbean in January. It was our first cruise where just the two of us went alone, to seek adventure. And it was our first cruise on what was to become our preferred cruise line, Celebrity. We made lifelong friends, and we saw parts of the world we had not been to.
In July, we spent a few days in San Francisco, visiting our daughter.
In September, we flew to Venice, where we spent several days, before embarking on our first Mediterranean cruise. Again, on our own. Seasoned now :-).
This is Burano, Italy, one of the islands in the Venice Archipelago. Venice is a place of magic and wonder for the world traveler and we have been back and will go back again. As I worked on this image, it struck me just how much it resembled some of the buildings in the Carribean.
I wonder how many times I have said that over the years, to people around me and even here in writing? And how many times I have been asked to shoot portraits or events? And its true, I do not make a point of photographing people or their events. At least not in the portraiture sense. But every image in this post has at least one person in it.
In spite of my leanings, I do think it is sometimes desirable to purposely place people in a photo, and sometimes, to make them, if not the subject, at least a subject of the photograph. These days I actually seek people out
I have long understood that including people in images has a certain inevitability. People are often unavoidably around the scenes that I photograph. In that case, sometimes a little patience will reward the wait with a clear moment (or longer). I have also noted here previously, that with the ability to digitally “retouch” photographs these days, I will at times try to shoot when the “people-placement” is such that I know I can remove it from the final image. But other times, when I know they are an inevitable part of the image, I will try to place them in such a way as they give context, scale, or both.
When I am out shooting, I shoot scenes that interest me and they often involve people doing things. It may be their jobs. It may be as an observer or participant. But in each case, “people” are an important part of the photograph.
In spite of my leanings, I do think it is sometimes desirable to purposely place people in a photo, and sometimes, to make them, if not the subject, at least asubject of the photograph. These days I actually seek people out in the appropriate instance.
There are some really, really good people photographers out there. What they tell me is that they are very upfront about it. They often (if not always) approach their subjects and make their intentions and friendliness known. They usually will offer the subject a print. And they shoot with smaller equipment and lenses, which makes the whole experience less imposing to the subjects.
Obviously, I have not mastered that art. -:)
Over the years I have actually made a number of images with the thought of selling or using them as illustrations for advertising or other content. But as you can see I am not generally approaching my subjects. Fortunately, they are usually not recognizable, and are in public places. In the uncommon event where I have made an image of a recognizable face, I know it would be advisable to approach the subject and obtain their permission to use it. I know that there are sometimes copyright issues and these days, almost always privacy issues that need to be addressed. I also am aware that in some situations, an individual has an economic interest in their own image. I know many pros carry releases with them.
I don’t, and in spite of the language barrier, I probably should have approached the gentleman in the opening image, made in an outdoor cafe in Nice, France. But in that instance, my shot was not made for any intention of stock, advertising or other commercial use. It was for me. It reminds me of many things, including the quiet, slow pace of some of these locations, and the need to take some time for yourself occasionally.
As I contemplated this post, I was curious about the percentage of images I have made over the years that involve people as at least an indirect subject. I was surprised.
I have not yet become comfortable in most cases with approaching people. Therefore my images tend to be candid or incidental. But I had quite a few. They probably often show my timid approach to people, but I curated a few of them just the same.