I was lucky to extend my travels past tiny Europe this August and I headed to South Africa and Swaziland for ten days.
I casually kept my camera around but didn't make a big fuss if I happened to leave it behind as I was happy to walk around lightly and ease my mind of this futile obsession to funnel an image through one's own frame. I wanted to assimilate the new continent, new animals, new people and new environments by myself without any other mechanisms, and without the weight of that black square hanging on my chest.
Of course, such a venture meant I could still not be able to avoid the bizarre behaviour of the expectations of taking photos of well known sights. What disturbed me the most rather than the touristic action (which I am in no way ousting myself out of) is the diction used to accompany the arrival of such a sight, as stated by guides.
'We will soon be approaching the view of [insert historical/cultural landmark here]. We will stop for 15 minutes to take photos, then we will move on." I take images, therefore I was there and had the full experience.
I know I'm saying nothing new, but what I'm expressing is my increased awareness at such absurdities following a year of seminars tackling it at my Photography MA at Central Saint Martins. I must admit, such absurdities do help to be of some form of entertainment besides despair. Especially souvenir shops with their multifaceted replications of humorous, kitsch and solipsism.
Visiting places of historical contexts was incredibly distressing at times, in particular the Hector Pieterson memorial. But such bleak moments of humanity were then balanced out with the incredible pleasure of seeing ELEPHANTS!! LIONS!! GIRAFFES!!! RHINOS!!! HIPPOS!! CROCODILES!!! OSTRICHES!! ZEBRAS!! BUFFALO!! up close.
Back home, I'm enjoying the few images I took, and am editing some, and realising that after a year of seeing and participating in bizarrely absurd works and installations, they still don't match with the absurdity of taking images and taking the time to edit them on photoshop in this day and age.
Here are a few (very) representational images of my trip. More will come.