Saturday, December 30, 2006
Guest Post: Kid String
A good photographer works in all 5 sensual areas of the human experience. Some photos are bland, venturing into only one of the realms of our existence. But this photo by Otilius is far from bland: it takes all of our senses to get the total thought of this photograph.
If you are but a hick from Kansas, you may have missed a few of the city things--the New York City things--in this photograph. Just as the apartment dweller in NYC may not get the whole picture when shown a picture taken at a tailgate party before a Kansas City Chief's game.
Most hicks from Kansas could not really see, smell, hear, taste or feel this photograph. But even a hick from Kansas would take a second look at this photo, for it is far from a bland photo.
Let's see how many of the 5 senses this photo projects to the viewer.
1. SIGHT is always the easiest to detect. Dah, it is a photograph and I don't think we have invented Braille photos yet. Braille Photos? Now there is a noble project, but who has the time anymore? Most people if given the choice would rather see an "accidental" crotch shot of Britney Spears, than a photograph like this great photo.
2. HEARING is one hard sense to project into a photograph, but this one is loud. This photo speaks. No sidewalk in NYC is quiet. Traffic whizzes by (taxicabs) with horns blaring, tires squeal and people shout obscenities and subway noises filter up out of the deep. The constant rattle rattle rattle of things moving beneath the concrete is a sound I will never forget. New York City is a museum of noise on the grandest scale imaginable. No use trying to explain...you have to be there.
3. SMELLING is a treat in NYC, and it is about 50/50 good and bad. You want to engage your sense of smell? Travel on foot through the various ethnic neighborhoods of the Big Apple. How many of you know what a banana frying in coconut oil smells like? Yes they are fried right out on the sidewalks...and they do taste better hot. NYC is a city that is both kind and cruel to the olfactory nerve.
4. FEELING is one sense you must be careful with in NYC, especially on the tubes. If you have the slightest feeling that someone has violated your space...turn around and punch the nearest person, and hopefully you can recover your wallet, passport or money clip. If you are one of the fairer sex, turn around and yell "RAPE". It works, even in NYC. Men always pay attention when "RAPE" is shouted out, or you could even yell, "FLASHER". In the resulting melee between those wanting to stop the crime and those wanting to join in, justice will be served--New York City Style.
From among "the rudest population in America", you will find some of the most generous, talkative, helping, and kind people. They are New Yorkers and will not show their good side to hicks from Kansas, unless there is a need to shift into caring mode. New Yorkers are not rude, they just don't have time to teach you New York City Survival Skills and so they clam up.
If you don't have a New York City friend, you are missing out my friend. They are some great people by and large, and this photo is a glimpse into NYC.
I dare you to try this experiment. Walk down a busy street in Dallas, San Francisco, Miami, and New York City and drop a wallet with $50 dollars and some of your I.D. Drop it on the sidewalk amongst a crowd.
You have a much better chance of someone contacting you to return the wallet if you dropped it in a crowd in NYC. Miami? Forget about it, won't be returned and any information in the wallet will be used against you. San Francisco? Dallas? You stand a little more chance of recovery than if you had dropped the wallet in Miami, not much, and nothing close to the rate of return from the streets of NYC. (I can't source this one, but I read an article in Time magazine about this, and it stuck in my mind)
5. Tasting is the hardest of the senses to portray in a photograph. If only Otilius had used a wide angle lens for this great photo, you could see the Sabrett's Hot Dog Cart that is everywhere in NYC. You would remember the sauerkraut laced gut bomb that we all love so much. You ain't lived until you have eaten a Sabrett's on the streets of NYC. Chew the Tums before eating. They do taste good.
Now mix all of those senses up and forget about them! What does this picture portray in the realm of reality? You see a group effort. It is called "getting the children from point A to point B, safely". A jump rope decorated with ribbons held tightly by two adults serves as a safe way to get children to walk the sidewalks. It is difficult to manage six young children on any cities streets, but these caregivers have it figured out.
And I ask you friend, have you ever seen a prettier smile then the smile on the face of the little one who broke all of the rules? Yes, I'm looking at the child who has let go of the jump rope to point a finger at something they wanted everyone to notice. You can see that these children were told to hold on to the jump rope and not let go. The only exception was to be one child holding the jump rope and the hand of another child. Look what happened, the rules were broken, but Otilius caught the moment of happiness--the finger pointing smiling and obviously happy child, has broken a rule...of passage.
I love this photo, and hope the children all got to point B safely.
[photo originally posted September 15, 2005]