the camera changed the way we behaved, part 2

June 06, 2008  in  Archived       Related posts:  

A couple weeks ago I wrote about some schoolkids who made cardboard video cameras, and got lost in their world seen through their ‘lenses’. I wrote that photography “is a purposeful action that impacts and often changes both the person who is doing the seeing, and the object that is seen.” This week we had an interesting demonstration of this idea.

Photograph from AP
Photograph from AP

The National Geographic reported that photographs had been taken of one of the last remaining “uncontacted” tribes in the Amazon. My first thought was “Well, they aren’t uncontacted anymore, are they?” The act of taking this photograph, which entailed flying an airplane so low that the tribesmen tried to shoot it down, has irrevocably altered these peoples’ lives, their future, and their understanding of the world. As fascinating as it is for us, I don’t think I could stand that pressure, knowing that my photography had such ramifications. It makes me glad my subjects are dried leaves and bark.