Pictures or it didn’t happen

In japan, travelling, writing on January 18, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I’m in yoyogi park, the place where the Japanese rockabilly’s prance and preen to the garage rock tunes that kicked it back in the 50’s and 60’s. Leather jackets, oiled quiffs and shades covering their eyes. They dance and strut and people come and take photo’s.  Tourists gawk and snap away and the rockabilly’s are eager enough to be a part of it, to a certain extent prostitute themselves for the camera. I should take a photo but I can’t because I don’t want to do what everyone is doing (because I’m contrary like that) and maybe because they won’t be any good (every creative person has doubts about their ability, the constant questioning is what makes it worthwhile when you come up with something decent), but also because I don’t want to be like those that document everything yet see nothing. So wrapped up in the need to take that photograph, that they fail to enjoy the thing that they’ve come to see.

You know the ones that spend the whole night standing in front of you with their arm in the air, mobile phone clutched in their hand, trying to take photos or record their favourite song, recording a memento of their journey to, and participation in, this event and the only way it can be communicated to others is to show them the grainy images of someone far away whose face you cannot quite see and who are god knows where.

So I’ve only got a couple of photos of yoyogi park. Think of it as just one big rehearsal space, a tokyo’s got talent speakers corner, everyone gets a chance to do their thing, whether they be good or bad, or just plain ridiculous. Digeridoo players, stood behind public toilet blocks to get the proper acoustics, jugglers throwing objects between themselves, saxophone players practising “somewhere over the rainbow” alone in the wooded areas.
I even saw a man pretending to catch a baseball game, complete with calling signs, grabbing pitches out of the dirt and exhortations to non existent team mates as he filmed himself.
So I’ve taken some photo’s, actually I’m taking more photo’s than I’ve taken for a while, as part of my new; take a photo everyday whilst I’m travelling campaign. But for right now I’m trying to make the claim that a good couple of paragraphs of writing outweigh a shitty cameraphone pic. And that argument would be kind of destroyed if I posted up some photo’s with this post wouldn’t it.
So how am I doing so far? Is the power of the written word and my prose style keeping you interested and intrigued enough to keep coming back for more, until I find that missing camera cable and am able to upload some pictures of buildings and my feet upto flickr and then to here.

Or will you bail out with a dismissive sweep of the hand at the screen and utter the words “pictures or it didn’t happen”. If they remake the life of christ, this is what all those who don’t see the miracles should say when word of it comes to them. “Pictures or it didn’t happen”

  1. Totally agree with you big man on the photo thing. It’s like the Valley of The Kings: Everyone is so caught up in trying to get an (illegal) photo in the tombs of all the incredible colours of the 2000 year old paint that they kinda forget to just stand and look at it. Sometimes photos (and video) don’t do things justice away from the place itself, somethings can only be experienced correctly first hand and remembered for their impact without a permanent (and unreliable) record… cue my opinions on why i didn’t have a videographer at our wedding etc etc

  2. Andrew – it’s really interesting how the 3 blog entries so far seem as though they are written by 3 different people. Tokyo seems to have mellowed you slightly – either that or you’re jet-lagged?! Wonderful to be transported from my lounge to a cinematic vision in my head of a city I’ve never seen. Can’t wait for your next installment – hope you’re staying away from girls with grubby hands 😉

  3. Yeah! Totally reading! Yoyogi park sounds so cool!

    Make another WordPress blog and use DuoTone or MonoTone, they are themes specifically aimed at photo blogs. That way they’re connected and you don’t have to mess up the layout of this blog!

  4. oh yeah, and I’m also sick of the “pictures or it didn’t happen” crowd, though it’s fun to say that. I’ve decided to take only a few photos of any one moment and let the rest stay with me through memory.

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