Two Different Perspectives

Written By bryanboy

My other half has a newfound obsession: photo editing. After dinner last night, I told him to download GIMP, a free, easy-to-use graphics software which he can use to edit photos. Not in a “I want to be skinny, liquify 50 pounds out of me” kind of way but easy, breezy, effortless cover girl type of photo editing. You know, change the colors, crop, resize pictures to make them smaller, etc. The internet connection in our gorgeous hotel is a nightmare and it’s stressful, not to mention emotionally draining, to upload files on teh interwebs.

Bryanboy outside Taj Mahal, Agra India

Sunglasses from Miu Miu, Fall 2011 lurex sweater from Prada, shorts from Elizabeth & James

I was sitting beside him when he emailed a selection of personal photos (both wonderful and depressing) to his friends and I couldn’t stop myself from asking, what is it with white people’s westerners’ obsession in photographing (and sharing) the other side of reality? You know what I’m talking about — the grim part of human reality. They like to travel far and wide, especially to the exotic, to deliberately photograph poverty, the sick, the disabled, dead dogs, unsanitary conditions, etc. He says he likes to photograph them because he thought it was shocking, out of the norm and of course, extraordinary. “This just doesn’t exist in Sweden,” he says.

Click click click!

I, on the other hand, well, before going to India, many have said to prepare myself from this so-called ‘culture shock’. I wasn’t shocked at all. In fact, there’s this element of familiarity with what I saw. I have plenty of this so-called ‘reality’ in my own backyard! Hello, Philippines? Very little was unusual.

Most of my photographs on the other hand are completely the opposite than his. I love experiencing and photographing the grand, the beautiful, the lush vegetation, the amazing food, the spectacular sights, wonderful colours, textures, etc — things I find completely different from what I’m accustomed to back home. I’m not gonna email or blog pictures of people sleeping on the side of the road just inches away from getting ran over by passing vehicles for entertainment purposes. Gloating on other people’s misfortune or misery is no longer my cup of tea.

The point of going on a vacation is to temporarily detach ourselves from our usual environment to get pleasure from experiencing something different. While many go on holidays to learn more about others — culture, environments, etc.,  some go to learn more about themselves or to make themselves feel better — they see what’s out there in the world and then they develop a much better sense of appreciation with what they have back home.

Am I digging too deep?

My bf resigned and said, “well, I went to India for no other reasons but love.”

Me too, my dear readers, me too.

By the way, it’s a bitch wearing that fall 2011 Prada emerald green lurex sweater when I went to the Taj Mahal earlier this morning but I had to do  it. Heat? What heat? What sweat? I was gonna do four outfit changes but I left two outfits in the car. Boo hoo!

17 Comments

  1. Francisco Raposo

    “well, I went to India for no other reasons but love.” if my bf ever said that i would hold him and marry him forever. guess India is taking its toll on you guys :)
    xxx fran

  2. Francisco Raposo

    “well, I went to India for no other reasons but love.”if my bf said that i would hold and marry him forever. :) nice to know that India its taking its toll on u guys. xxx fran

  3. I would love to know the details of the accessories you’re wearing in this post, particularly your (is it purple?) leather bracelet. Is it Hermes?

  4. “By the way, it’s a bitch wearing that fall 2011 Prada emerald green lurex sweater when I went to the Taj Mahal” Love it! It’s this honesty (and dedication to style of course) that keeps me reading you every day.

  5. Thanks for writing this, Bryan! I’m Indian American, and I totally agree: taking a cliche photo of a beggar on the street is not ground-breaking–it’s insensitive (especially if you’re just snapping a photo and haven’t had a meaningful interaction with the person) and has been done a thousand times before. It reminds me of the “homeless chic” ads.

  6. Marcela Hernandez

    bryanboy thank you for posting all your posts are so inspiring !!!!!!!

  7. Very well written and thoughtful blog. I am from India and I understand the culture shock as even I get it after living many years in the U.S. But, there is absolutely no need to photograph the impoverished side as it has been done many a times. Let CNN and BBC do that. Blogging is about beauty, not “stark” journalism!! Btw how did you manage to wear the Prada top in the 200 degree heat. I am profusely sweating just seeing it:)

  8. Some westerners like to take pictures of poverty, India in general etc. Im not one of them and could never understand that. I mean if your life is in the western world its just the way it is.

    I like to take photographs of nice things in various western countries.

    (And this comment was polite – didnt mentioned social porn once. Pardon for type set being used…in the middle of changing Macs)

  9. Wow, gorgeous outfit on you! Love the cool & noble shape of your shorts and the color of this awesome sweater! The whole pic has style. Love to read your authentic and inspiring blog!
    xoxo Alessandra (www.howtobeinstyle.com)

  10. BB you look wonderful. I am telling you because I admire you…Go get a nice white cotton kurtha pajama. But make sure the pajamas (legging) part is the rajithani skinny pant style. You will look wonderful with the lose top and skinny cotton pants.http://thegrandeurs.blogspot.com/

  11. I really enjoyed this post. Me myself, being from Sweden, but has lived in the UK for three years and now in Norway. Neither of the countries are very far from Sweden, but I find that Swede’s have this dark mentality. I don´t know if that depends on the long winters (og god how depressing they are) or what else it can be. Cause in Sweden, when I compare, we have a quite high living standard. And that isn´t just the rich, even the so called poor have high standards compared to other countries. But I don´t think, as a Swede, you become aware of how good life is in Sweden (not saying that it is better than anywhere else, but we really shouldn´t complain) and just because all this poorness (people sleeping on the side of the road, malnutrition, dirty water etc.) is so far from us we photograph that to remind ourselves that we actually have it good. In comparison. Don´t know if that is remembered a few weeks after travelling around in poor countries, but anyways. Sorry for the essay.

  12. So true!! Once my family (we’re all Indian) came across an American at a popular tourist spot in Mumbai, holding a 100Rs note (2$) in front of a beggar, and making him pose and by pose I mean beg and plead so that he could get photographs.
    my father went up and spoke in an American accent (he used to work on the Norwegian and Royal Carribean cruise lines) and told that asshole, you can give him 2$ for your own selfish entertainment and at the end of the day he will still be poor and begging on the streets. If you really want to help him ,take him with you and give him a job will you? That guy was so flustered, he gave the beggar 200rs and just went away probably cursing my dad for not getting his picture!

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