A BIT STORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY IN ECUADOR
Travel for me not just visiting some new places.
Not just a vacation.
There are things I want to learn when I visit a new place. Like history, local people and culture. When I get home, my most precious gift is photos. I was very sad when accidentally deleted my photo while in Kingston, Jamaica. Another time my hard disk damaged by lightning. The photos during the trip always reminded me how I enjoy every minute of adventure.
Then, not sure how to start, I interested in street photography. I amazed how one picture can really tell so many stories. I excited when my pictures attract other people’s emotions. Each snap is part of the memory that I remember forever.
I am very interested and fascinated by street photography. I feel a connection when photographing local people doing their day’s life. Of course, I still love to take pictures of buildings, scenery, flowers, animals and tourist attractions. But I feel different and special when I walk to see how local people live their daily lives.
I used to travel to check the list on my ‘bucket lists’. A place that makes me run out of words. The place that made me grateful that I come that far.
However, street photography adds more spice to my travel journey. Make more exciting and delicious.
“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
– Arthur Brisbane
A photo speaks thousands of words. It shows people’s moods, what’s going on and their life background.
I worked for many years as a travel agent, staying at a five-star hotel or resort with good facilities with a delicious breakfast buffet. Travel to remote places in Bali and the islands outside Bali with the best tour operators. Free, sometimes even reluctant to do it because there was no time. Not to mention, a dozen invitations every month from our vendors to enjoy excellent food and great entertainment from the city’s grandest restaurants or cafes.
It felt good to blend business and pleasure. Time passes so quickly. I resigned after ten years working with the same travel agent. Good time.
From there, for unknown reasons, my travel experience shifted to different levels. I wanted something different when I travel.
“I fell in love with the shooting process, going around looking for something, it seems to me like some kind of show, it was a document of the show.” Alec Soth
I’m out of the comfort zone.
I am always afraid of offending someone or the local culture. The incident at Peguche Waterfall was an unpleasant experience. I was stunned (slightly alert) as the man approached. Then upset because he made me felt uncomfortable.
It takes many, many, many exercises to build the ability to shoot without giving the intentions behind it.
To make it even more ridiculous, I’m really shy.
Hesitant and scared.
I did not have the guts to just press the shutter button. Though there were so many opportunities, when the object made eye contact, I discouraged. Afraid if they chased me or yelled at me. But I would be disappointed not to take pictures and not dare to take risks. I’m always bothered with ‘what if’.
QUITO OLD TOWN
I attended a street photography workshop when I went to New Orleans. Glad that I was the only participant. He preferred to take one student each session. I felt awkward if I found others better or more advanced from me.
I learned a lot from him. There is so much fun about street photography. There are so many new things I learned. He gave so many tips on how to take pictures from different angles. Make use of sunlight, lines and more.
Patience is the key.
I also realize by understanding street photography I closer to the social life and culture of the local community.
However, I realized until then street photography also needs strategy and preparation. I do not have it half of it, courage.
It takes courage (mammoth) to press the shutter and move without feeling uncomfortable. He gave me so many examples of how to handle such things. Wow. It was very difficult for me. But if I do not try, how do I know I will be able to do it. Right??.
One time when I walked around the old town in Quito. I wanted to take a picture of El Panecilo Mirador with the foreground of the old town street with some food vendors. I want to include one of the stalls on my right. While I looked at the viewfinder, I heard an angry tone on my right. Since I did not know any Spanish at all, I just pushed the button and kept going.
Apparently, the food vendor did not like her food stall in photos. She screamed and pointed me to her friend. The man came up to me and with an angry face and waved his hand.
He spoke in Spanish, I only know the word ‘photo’. I realized … it’s happened again ?? Ohhh noooo … I was very upset.
Unconsciously I also shouted with an angry tone at him. “I took a picture ot that hill!” pointing the hill behind him.
Then he realized (maybe) I was a tourist and (maybe, too) did not expect I shot back to him. He did not say anything. I walked away and never looked back. It’s really annoying.
I was shaking and angry. It took hours to get over it. However, I would not allow such incidents to deter me. Quito was so beautiful with the charm of the old town. I could not ignore the beautiful curves of the old building. The charm of Quito’s life. I kept telling myself that the incident would not happen again.
I keep learning.
I learned many lessons from my mistakes. When I learn from the mistakes of things there is always something new to learn.
This post is also available in: Indonesian