The nice thing about digital photography is that no longer having to be concerned with paying for film and processing you can set your inner artist free to your heart’s delight. Or in my case, allowing my inner artist to take photos of stupid shit. Granted, if you’ve followed this blog for a while and have seen some of my travel photography in the past, you’ve undoubtedly already come to that conclusion. But those were all works of art. Bitch. And since they made it to a post on my blog, the subject matter at least fit with some article’s theme. Today’s photos, not so much.
Which would probably have been a better title for today’s post. It’s not so much that these are photos of stupid shit as it is that there is no good reason for them to ever be posted. Unless you are posting an article about stupid shit you’ve taken photos of. Because they are still works of art. Just like that finger painting I did in kindergarten that my mom posted on our refrigerator for a six year run. They still work under my definition of good travel photography (that’d be a photo that instantaneously transports you back to a time and place you’ve visited) even if they don’t mean a thing to you. Kinda like a few future post themes that culling through my stock of pictures for this one inspired in me. Like Photos Of Complete Strangers I’ve Taken. And The Other 5,000 Photos I’ve Taken At Wat Chedi Luang. Stay tuned.
And, yeah, there will be a Stupid Shit I’ve Taken Photos of Part 2, too. Because I take a lot of photos of stupid shit. Not that I didn’t think there was a good reason to snap that shot at the time I took it. The first posted above, for example, is from the first time I visited Laos without actually visiting Laos. Noom and I took a Golden Triangle tour out of Chiang Mai, which included a boat ride on the Mekong over to a small island that officially is part of Laos. It’s a tiny, dirty, dusty bit of land that serves no purpose other than as filler for Golden Triangle tours and an opportunity to sell some souvenirs to stupid tourists. Which at first glance may appear to have nothing to do with an old dusty tea kettle sitting on top of an abandoned rooster cage. But that photo perfectly sums up that part of the tour. In fact, it defines that part of the tour. Just in case you were considering taking a Golden Triangle Tour. Not that the rest of the packaged tour was any better. Other than the preponderance of ladyboys encountered at every stop. But that’s a different photo.
The second photo is from Georgetown, Malaysia. Which from a photographer’s viewpoint is all about color. And if you are shooting color, blue counts. Besides, anyone can take a photo of the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. Ya know? #3 is also about color, it’s a display at Chatuchak. In my defense on this one, I took the photo instead of buying those little woven balls so I consider that a win.
The fourth shot is from Siem Reap. It’s of a restaurant I didn’t eat at. I would have, but I’d already had diner that night. And I’m not Asian so I don’t take photos of the meals I eat when on holiday. Speaking of stupid shit to take photos of. But it is a cool, dramatic shot. I do however take lots of photos of any wat I visit and while #5 probably doesn’t scream Wat Phra That Hariphunchai to you, it does to me. Possibly because after the long and somewhat boring drive out to Lamphun – the highlight of which is trees – you’re conditioned to take photos of whatever you find there just so the afternoon doesn’t become a complete waste.
Lastly, some stupid shit I’ve taken photos of aren’t stupid shit but are just photographs that didn’t quite turn out the way I’d planned. No problemo. Some of my best photos didn’t turn out as planned either. I think I share that trait with Ansel Adams. This one was supposed to be a Monk Shot! And it is. But the camouflaged monk was a bit more camouflaged by the time my shutter did its thing than he was when I spotted the photo’s potential. That’s the problem with Monk Shots. Monks tend to be a bit camera shy. And for people who are supposed to be busy contemplating the Buddha’s teachings, they move damn fast when they want to.
Someone once told me that what makes art art is that it has a story to tell. I don’t know that that makes sense, or does much to explain what passes for modern art, but since each of these works of art now has a story to accompany them, I’m gonna go with it and say these are not just stupid shit I’ve taken photos of, but shinning examples of the art known as travel photography. ‘Cuz I’ve got lots more photos of stupid shit I’ve taken photos of that are story-less. And I’m sure I’ll be posting some of those soon too.
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