March 2, 2011 /
San Cristobal De Las Casas Chiapas
I normally like to ask permission before I snap photographs when I travel. I usually do this not to get approval but because I feel so much better when people know I have photographed them. By asking for permission I don’t mean using direct questions like: Can I take a photograph of you? because these types of questions always lead to discussions about the use of the photos, etc. etc. I like to ask permission in different ways: for example, by showing my legitimate interest in whatever is happening in front of me. This usually works, since people who don’t want their photos taken will be uncomfortable – I always move away when that happens – and people who don’t feel bothered by cameras will simply keep doing whatever they where doing. That’s when I take the photograph. Then, afterwards, if the subject asks questions, I find it easier to explain why I took the photo when I can actually show him or her the candid moment I wanted to capture.
I was walking the pedestrian streets of San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico when I saw this boy. He was so entertained doing his homework that I felt it wouldn’t be a good idea to disturb him, so I just snapped the photograph and moved away.Now, this photograph is bothering me. It´s been there in my hard drive together with many other photographs whose main characters have never learned of their existence. These photographs have been haunting me for so long. I find it difficult to explain why. Perhaps because they don’t belong to me or perhaps because they do. Perhaps because I tried to make them mine, my oeuvre and I now realize I did nothing more than just pass by there with a camera. Perhaps because the characters in these photos have moved on in time but I -or my camera – have frozen them in that moment; stolen their souls and trapped them forever in the box that is the image.