Friday, 2 May 2014

click!

Seven days ago I was sitting on a plane heading back to Europe.
This morning I was sitting on a train heading back to Torino.

Last week, Barbara was telling me she didn't know how to start writing about the 2 weeks we had just spent in China.
I was feeling the same, but I deluded myself into thinking that, if I gave myself some days to mull overm I'd be able to come up with something.
Truth is I did almost everything (I even ironed! Twice!!) but writing a post about my vacations in China. I guess I could never be a travel blogger: yet another doomed career of mine.  The only way I could label my blog (also? at least?) as a travel blog is considering I write most of my post while commuting as travel enough.

I thought I could start writing about it today, but haven't done a lot: I 've kept looking at the photos. I promised myself I will order some print outs, so I need to organize and sort them, decide which to keep and which to trash.
I've started pretty well, I just hope I'll keep up till the end: I normally stray, after a while I start postponing and that's when everything grinds to an halt (I still need to finish sorting the photos back from Australia after all).

However, after going through a first quick scan, trashing the most atrocious shots and started sorting them, I realized this journey had for sure one very positive effect for me: it reconnected me with photography. Or better: it reconnected me with taking photos.
I've always enjoyed both sides of photography, watching and taking them, but in the past few years I have been taking less and less photos.
I've been taking my 40D out for a lot of walks but I very rarely bothered taking it out of its bag.

Oh, yeah, I know the usual comment at this point: it's because of the smartphone. It's so much easier and lighter to carry around a phone rather than a DSLR: just few taps and well aimed filters and voilà!, you're ready to go social, right?
Wrong. For me, at least. Despite the fact I sometimes I end up traveling  with more phones in my pockets than fingers in my hands, it doesn't really make me want to take more photos. In a way it made me even lazier. The notion that other people around me are happily snapping away means that I'll eventually get the photo. Or so I hope, because most of people put their photos on Facebook or Instagram and don't send them across.

No, it's not because of the iPhone, but still there's been a moment, before leaving for Shanghai, when I thought about leaving the camera behind at home and just taking the mobile with me instead. The notion of having to carry a heavy DSLR along the whole day, taking photos of things and people instead of looking at them was not ideal. I was somehow afraid of turning in that kind of tourist that in front of some important spot, snap 2 or 3 pictures and then moves quickly to the next "must see". I was honestly scared that I became so rusty that I couldn't be able to do more. So, why bother with a camera and 2 lens? An iPhone would do just fine.
I voiced my doubts aloud on a phone call to Barbara: I don't exactly recall how I put the idea down, but I clearly remember the gasp of shock on the other end of the line.
I could imagine Barbara's eyes literally popping out cause of disbelief, ready to travel the all length to Milan to slap some good sense into that thick brain of mine.
I quickly did a 180 degree turn and packed my camera in the backpack. As if what I've been blabbing about so far wasn't proof enough, when i packed my camera I discovered I had no clue where the memory cards where: well, I had a 2GB memory card with me and thought that if I was really going to need some more memory, I could easily buy a new one once there.

And guess what?
I had to buy a new memory card because, even before leaving Shanghai I was already running low on space.
I had to laugh at my silly fears. Sure, my pictures are not that great, but having the camera with me allowed me to see more, not less. Looking through the viewfinder didn't reduce my attention span, rather increased it: it made me more aware of small details I would have missed otherwise.
It broadened my perspective and slowed me down, so that I could take more impressions and memories back with me.

I was grumbling a lot back there, complaining about how shitty my pictures look, but now I look at these pictures and for each of them there is some little story, fact or laughter linked to it. I can't really judge them based on how good or bad they are, I can't classify them based on any criteria but the memory behind.
This might delay my blog post about China even more, but who cares?
I might stop taking pictures with my camera soon enough, but, again, who cares? I don't.
I look at the pictures and wonder if I can manage to order the prints before my next trip.

I think this will be the first one in the order:


(It's amazing the amount of shots of people with a mobile I got in my folder)

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