Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Why I don't like Cameras

Since being in Brazil, everyone asks to see pictures. And why would you not—this place is incredible.

Sometimes I just feel intrusive pulling out a camera or phone when I see things that really fascinate me. I don’t want to make a spectacle out of the way people live.

I think it would be different if I was a tourist on a short vacation and wanted to capture every fleeting memory. But I will be here for some time and can look, breathe and take it all in.

Part of my camera reservations too come from my inner scaredy cat. With theft happening so frequently here, I would rather not make myself a target. In the US it’s totally status quo to walk around with your phone, camera and laptops in hand, but here that looks like you’re asking for trouble.

Ideally I want zero trouble, so all of my photos from my Life in Rio album came from places I felt really safe in; our hotels when we first arrived, our apartment, a calm day at the beach and at a friend’s beach house.

These are picturesque images of the natural beauty of Brazil. But they only capture one side of the story.

For example, on the way to this place:






We drove through an hour and a half of poor towns and poverty. Tiny houses stacked on top of each other, some covered in graffiti, others missing windows and doors. People walking around in worn clothes, the sweat and stress from the day still heavy on their faces. Child after child playing barefoot in the streets. Watching silently from the car window, I could not bring myself to take a picture. 

This is what poor looks like. And this video puts the irony of visitors with cameras into perspective.


As much as I want to share all parts of my experience with the world, I think there are better ways than taking pictures. There has to be.

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