Monday, 21 February 2011

Robert Gauthier: China Journal

Photo © Robert Gauthier-All Rights Reserved- Courtesy Los Angeles Times
As I'm still "suffering" from the afterglow (albeit, and regrettably, only a second-hand one) of the momentous events in Cairo, and from the visual overload of my 2 weeks photo expedition in Gujarat, it was about time to feature photographic work from a different part of the world...

The Los Angeles Times' Framework featured Robert Gauthier's Behind The Lens: A Photographer’s China journal.

I find similar behind the scene journal entries by photographers and photojournalists very interesting, as these provide insight as to what worked, what didn't and what went through their minds as they go about doing their business....whether it was jubilation at getting a "money shot"...or the disappointment at not getting what was expected.

Gauthier writes:
"Here’s the money shot,” I thought. As a photojournalist, I try to anticipate moments that help illustrate the thesis of the story. In my mind’s eye, I pictured Li, arriving home after months away. Children scrambling into his arms, a loving wife’s long embrace, tears of happiness streaming from everyone’s face.


Zonk! Instead, a hesitant father politely introduces his reluctant wife as the children stay outside. We all stand awkwardly in a dimly lighted living room. Li nowhere near his wife. No Norman Rockwell moment here. This is how stories like these generally go. You have to expect the unexpected."

We have all experienced this very same feeling. We build our expectations up; partly because we are wishful thinkers when it comes to our photography, and imagine the "perfect" scenes before we get to them...and partly because we frequently misinterpret how other people react.

Yes, indeed. We have to expect the unexpected...and be realistic in our expectations. I know...that last bit of advice is silly. We can never do that.