Do people take the time to know where they are when they take their pictures?
Who was it who said “The map is not the territory”? Neither is the photograph.
The divorce between these two things is extreme. Maybe this explains why people can’t be bothered locating their photos on a map. While posting my Yellowstone photos, I kept finding pictures of the Grand Tetons that had been stuck squarely in the heart of its northern neighbor. Did the people think that they were in a big mega-park that happened to include geysers and a stunning mountain range? Or were they drinking and posting?
I take maps very seriously. I figure that the big reason for posting is to help others find interesting places to take photographs. If you check out my flickr map postings, you will discover that I am obsessive. You can sometimes see my posts right next to the shadow of the tree featured in the photograph. Yes, I like to be that precise.
There’s an awareness of my surroundings that is part of the photographic experience for me. When I discovered that flickr and then lomography.com had maps, that wiggled my waggle. (Don’t ask me what a waggle is. It’s just a phrase, OK?) I could relive the whole experience of creating the photograph — the hunt that led t the scene — by carefully tracking where I walked or drove. A hyper-dimensionality ensued. I couldn’t be back in the Mojave Preserve, but I could see where the faint line of the trail wriggled through the Joshua Tree forest. I could almost feel the dust wafting up from my steps and the pebbles roll as I came down on them.
Did these others not feel these things or were they like the couple I saw at Grand Teton who just got into everyone’s way as they sought to get a picture. Thank you for getting into my foreground. What was that? We’re too involved with our Canons.
I bet they couldn’t mark where they were on the map. They probably just stick the markers in a largest blank space in the park — if not in Yellowstone.
Now there’s a word: Kvetch. As in “Kvetch, kvetch, kvetch. Stop your complaining!”