January 2015

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3
Jan

In a world where every generation in recorded history has pored over the habits of their successors looking for evidence that the human race is getting lazier, stupider and more vain, it seems obvious that taking photos of yourself in front of interesting things is going to end up being Exhibit A for the prosecution.

Here's the thing though. I consider myself a decent amateur photographer. However with a few seconds on Google I can find a picture of the Eiffel Tower that is taken by someone far better than I, in better light, from a better angle and with fewer other tourists in the way than I would have ever been able to manage in the few days I was in Paris this year.

But none of them would have my wife and me in them, enjoying our honeymoon far more than two people have any right to enjoy anything.

It actually hit me when I was trying to put a website together for our wedding back in late 2013. Over the years I had taken thousands of photographs, documenting everywhere we had gone together, but because I was always behind the camera I could only find about half a dozen pictures of the two of us. It turns out that if you rely on other people to document your being a couple, you'll be left short. Starting on our honeymoon I set about correcting this deficit, one tourist landmark at a time.

Unless you're an artist, a documentarian or a professional, photographs aren't about having pictures of things, especially in an age when you can find pictures of almost anything you can think of without getting up from your desk. Amateur photographs are about capturing the memory of when, where and how the photo was taken. What it was like to be in a particular place at a particular time of your life, with the people who were there with you. So that when you go through that album you go back to that place in your mind and experience it again through the lens.

Isn't wanting to include yourself in that frame the most natural thing in the world?

Charles and Donna at Uluru