The invisible ones

Modifié le : 2019/08/08

There are few or almost no faces in my pho­tos. Sev­er­al fac­tors are involved. First, my shy­ness, which is not helped by the sec­ond fac­tor, the right to peo­ple’s image.

Here, it is for­bid­den to take pic­tures of indi­vid­u­als who do not give their con­sent. I remem­ber a vio­lin­ist in the Parisian sub­way who booed me for tak­ing his pic­ture, demand­ing that I put mon­ey in his bowl. I had shown him the screen of my device and pressed the “Delete” but­ton.” Instead of calm­ing down, the man became angri­er. He had just lost in every way. A few years ago, I asked a friend to let me use some of the pic­tures of him to use in my web­site port­fo­lio. The pho­tos were sim­ple, beau­ti­ful, one of them showed him naked, but in a very suit­able pose. He was real­ly hand­some in that pic­ture. He cer­tain­ly had his rea­sons, we all did, but his refusal left me with a bit­ter taste. I am obvi­ous­ly naive and do not under­stand, like a child, that he is not giv­en what he wants.

This man, there, in the blur­ry pic­ture above, I would have liked to fol­low him, talk to him, but he prob­a­bly would­n’t have under­stood my ges­ture, would prob­a­bly have felt even more humil­i­at­ed, at least, that’s what I think.

I was talk­ing the oth­er day with a New York pho­tog­ra­ph­er who said she did­n’t have this prob­lem in her coun­try. The same is true for Brazil­ians who love to have their pic­tures taken.

Here, in our north­ern and inex­orably decay­ing coun­tries, peo­ple cling to the lit­tle they have left. They are afraid of any usurpa­tion and only par­si­mo­nious­ly grant oth­ers the right to pho­to­graph them, espe­cial­ly if it is to show them in their nat­ur­al beau­ty that usu­al­ly escapes every­one’s eyes. These pho­tos may show a truth that they no longer want to hear, and I can only respect their wish­es in the end. They have their lives to live, don’t want to com­pli­cate it, would­n’t want it to cost them their jobs, etc. I under­stand all this, and I’m sor­ry about it, though.

How many times would I have want­ed, in the sub­way, in the street, to stop a man, a woman, a child, smile at him, ask him/​her for a few moments of his/​her life to lean against the wall in order to catch his/​her gaze. I often think that I should print myself a busi­ness card on which I would show my white paw, try to con­vince strangers that I am nei­ther bad nor mercantile.

I am, I repeat, naive, moder­ni­ty has not yet suc­ceed­ed in lib­er­at­ing Man. He’s more scared than ever, and I’m too shy to make fun of him.