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No Peeping Tom

It gave him an excuse to look at things - otherwise he felt pressed to keep his eyes moving like a local's. With the camera came permission to study what he saw. Appreciate it, even.

Well, not just any camera. It couldn't be some point-and-shoot or he'd be taken for a tourist. A tourist is another kind of person altogether. Tourists want to be in their own pictures. They want to strike a pose and look at it later. Photos to them are receipts for the time they spent existing, each an exuberant but misled attempt to merge with something beautiful, or famous, or ha-ha clever. Tourists aren't concerned with subtle textures or the angles of light. They're happy with a point-and-shoot. Fine.

But his camera had weight. It came with fragile moving parts and a chronic fear of breaking them. He couldn't explain just how they worked but the details didn't matter. What mattered is that he'd made an investment - and that's the difference between an artist and a Peeping Tom. An artist has something to lose, something that can be taken away or wasted. Sharing is his only way of keeping it safe.

So he takes pictures - of pretty much anything - and he shows them to anyone, but not for a reaction. Reactions, reasons, career ambitions - that's amateur stuff. He takes pictures just because they're the only thing the world will look at anymore. At least that's how it feels when the camera's up against his eye.

Story by:

Eliza C. Kane

submitted at 2:19pm

1 March 2011

Eliza C. Kane's web: