Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The world is my playground

Part of an installation at Aspace is a sandbox of globes

Somewhere down on Spadina, 401 Richmond, suite 110 to be exact there's an art exhibit going on. It seems there are art exhibits small and big going on all the time. It's pretty incredible the amount of work that goes into these installations for only a select number of people to see, mainly due to not knowing that a lot of these things are going on in the first place.

A couple of people wandered in while I was shooting. I thought "hmm.. I wonder what brought them here?". My question was answered later when one of them told me they saw my flashes going off and just wanted to see what all the fuss was. Kind of like looking up at the sky to stretch your neck and then noticing people around you trying to look at what you were "looking" at. I find this works better if you have another person with you and you point up randomly at something. Sheesh, the things you do for personal entertainment.

Entertaining can work the other way as well. A few days ago I was reading a photography book, it's not really important was the title was, the book told the reader (in this case me) to try looking at the world through the lens at different heights. Usually people just stand there or sit there if they're tired or lazy and just shoot. I try to move around the subjects I shoot but I would say at least 50% of my photos are taken at a standing/rest position. I might move my body right or right or even stretch my neck but moving up or down not so much.

Anyhoo, on the way home going up Spadina, I noticed a small tot with big eyes looking around in wonder. Most kids are like this I suppose an/or tourists for that matter. It's only after we've been to the same place a number of times that we figure that there's nothing new to see and just stare down or watch where we're going so we don't bump into anyone or thing.

As an exercise I thought I'd squat down at try to see things through the camera trying to imitate the kid. The goods news is that I found a few loonies on the ground almost right next to my foot. The bad news is that I kind of looked like an orangtan on drugs with a camera wobbling down the street. I was alerted to this by two "model" type girls wondering by laughing and pointing (there's that pointing thing again). I immediately straightened up.

Before my moment of humiliation I did notice there are some interesting things to note from a lower height. Everyone and everything being taller, creates a forest like effect. Trying to see over garbage cans or around people's legs becomes a problem. Remember when you were a kid and lost your parents at the mall and they were only two meters away? I now understand this. We have to make GPS systems that kids can use. Sure a piece of string might work too.

I like the GPS idea with two floating icons. A big red icon labeled "Your Parent is Here" in the center and a big blue icon "You are here" which would be in a relative position to the red icon. You could, of course, change the settings so the blue icon, you, where in the center. The device would also tell you how far your parents were away from you. More expensive models could calculate how long it would take to reach them at your current speed and direction. That way you, as a kid, could get the tears going before having visual contact by the parental units.

So next time you see a kid, or a friend that's shorter than you, remember to be nice to them. They don't see the world as you do and another thing, don't forget to offer to press the high up elevator buttons for them. You'll feel better you did and so will your shins.


Wade Marshall said...

I like this picture.

I had to catch up on my bagelhot....haven't been here for awhlie. I even posted to my own blog (to bitch and complain) after a long hiatus.

Anonymous said...

I remember old film boxes used to have funny little cartoons inside them, advising the photographer to try varying height and distance when taking the picture, or to reposition themselves relative to the position of the sun, and things like that. Helpful advice, which most folks threw away without even seeing...

I find I often take my pictures from low down, (but I'm usually on my belly in a garden...) Old Hollywood movie makers used to shoot their leading ladies from above - it was more flattering, so I'm trying that sometimes.

I usually try to see the world with fresh, open eyes. If I didn't look for the amazing intricacies of a world that unfolds before me every day; under things, on top of things, in places where people don't usually look, I doubt I'd find much to enjoy.