I just read a fascinating article/rant over at Petapixel that opens a whole big can of worms. This idea of "White Guy Photography". The article linked above fires some shots across the bow of the Humans of New York project, claiming "I’ve skimmed it a few times but each time I do, I have a gut-level reaction to it as 'just another white guy photographing New York.'"
This brings to my mind, what the hell is "White Guy Photography?" in this person's mind? Here's an explanation in the author's own words:
I’m tired of the outsider view which treats cities as urban jungles full of diversity which have to be tamed. I’m tired of the idea that you can just drive through a culture snapping photos and claim to be presenting it to the rest of us. I’m tired of the idea that non-white or native people are exotic objects. I’m tired of the lack of context which results in the photos providing little to no information about the actual culture being depicted.
Okay, so there's some valid points in the above statement. I see what he's saying.
Here's why I don't agree.
When you visit somewhere that's out of your comfort zone, do you take photos of the things that remind you of home? No. You take photos of things that will remind of you of the places you've been when you get home. Is this a white guy thing to do? Because I've seen plenty of tourists that wander through Halifax taking photos of what I think is mundane, but it's exotic to them. What's wrong with that?
Better still, when you're looking for something to photograph, do you take photos of the ordinary? Or do you look for something out of the ordinary? When I take my camera on the street, I'm not interested in race, creed or culture, I'm just looking for something that catches my eye. I'm looking for shapes, gesture and connections with people. If I make a portrait, and I engage my subject and treat them with respect, dignity and honesty, does it matter what race I am, or what race they are?
The whole rant to me is a big steaming pile of controversy that shouldn't have been created. Let people take pictures of the things that interest them. Don't try to tell me that my photography is "White Guy Photography" because I take pictures of things that aren't from around here. Every tourist takes photos of things they find exotic. It's not a phenomenon exclusive to white people. Don't label it like that. In fact, it's pretty awful when you consider that while the author is trying to call out racism he's putting blanket assumptions out there based on race.
Anyway, here is today's photo of the day:
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Lens: Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L
ISO400, f/5 1/400s
Date: June 13, 2013
Process: Apple Aperture for RAW processing and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 for B+W Conversion