Recently there has been a lack in the number of photos I’ve taken and posted. It’s not because I haven’t been anywhere of interest or there has been a lack of places that I’ve enjoyed. Quite the opposite actually. I have enjoyed Ecuador but not for the reasons that makes me want to go and snap a shot of everything I see. My current surroundings have simply become common place but I enjoy them now more than when I found them unique and worthy of a snapshot. I love now more than I did six months ago to simply sit in a plaza and people watch or read a book. The sight of a woman in traditional dress has become common. I can understand more of those random conversations of a passerby on a cellphone. That hunched elderly woman with the face like a raisin carrying a large load of fruit or vegetables on her back still receives no less empathy but I don’t need to gawk. Although, the ridiculous amount of PDA displayed by post-pubescent teens and twenty somethings in the central square or in the park will still make me crack a smile at times depending on how ridiculous they decide to get.
There is also the thought of “I have a photo of that already” that plays a part. I can only imagine this is a similar thought for parents with multiple children. They have far more photos of their first child than their third. Not because they love them less but how many photos do you need of a child sleeping or with food on their face? With the same logic, how many more photos of mountains, churches, or central plazas do I need if what I’m looking at isn’t truly unique from what I’ve already seen?
I have, however, become more appreciative of those same mountains, churches and central plaza as I have come to understand the language and culture that surrounds them. Today the people that shape this culture have come to give off more joy but more frustrations at the same time. I have come to appreciate the world they live in. I grow more angry at them now than ten months ago for throwing a Coke bottle out of the bus window but more pleased when a teenage girl still has no qualms about holding the hand of her mother while walking down the street in front of her friends (the bonds of family truly run deep).
These surroundings that I used to find so foreign and confusing I now accept as common life. When things become common people generally don’t find them photo worthy. Do you find the street you live on worthy of a photo? Of course not. No one thinks of taking a photo to document their daily lives.
Today when I do want to take a shot the activity is usually more common than ever and it’s only the action done in within the framework of the world that surrounds it that makes it interesting. It’s those shots of a man sitting in a darkened comedor or of a woman peeling onions in the street that I want to take. What I don’t want are the strange looks that will accompany it. That man and woman don’t want their photo taken and it’s seen with the smirk or scowl that expresses, “What the hell are you doing?” that makes me shy away.
Not wanting to take more shots of the same thing and not quite yet willing to receive those strange looks means less photos. At some point I should just get over those questioning looks and take the shot but for now there will probably just be less photos.