i am a public nuisance
as i did mentioned in the previous post, i am currently part of a singtel project that involves putting together an online f&b directory. the amount of photography required is intensive, so i am one of the many foot soldiers going about shooting shopfronts. this is by far one of the most boring assignments i have had to endure, but like i said to a few of my friends, it helps to ‘pay the rent’.
the experience has so far been interesting. i have had a lot of stares directed at me – weird ones, shy ones, puzzled ones, angry ones… i suppose walking around toting a larger-than-usual camera invites a lot of attention. what makes this worse is when people do not realise that no, i am not shooting shopfronts for fun and that this is not some personal project.
the reactions in more details – i have had people stop beside me, looking in the direction my camera was pointed. they probably berated themselves for being unable to spot the photographic inspiration and brilliance so obviously gleaming in front of their eyes.
i have had people who gave me a wide berth. sometimes i felt like moses parting the red sea, my camera being the staff. apparently, there are people in south america who believe that when you photogragh someone, you are in fact stealing their soul. quite plausible. maybe if i shoot the marquee of a business i can in fact steal its essence and start an equally sucessful venture the next day.
then there are those who stare angrily at me as though i just hurled some nasty stuff at their parents. it seems like taking pictures of strangers in singapore is some sort of sin. sorry there, i know my rights. if you don’t want your picture taken, don’t come out of your house.
so how have i been dealing with all of these? i find that playing out the storm of the century on my face helps. this is also known as the stare-down, the ‘i mean business, hell i AM business!’ look. this has worked quite well. most singaporeans tend to avoid eye contact for longer than 2 seconds, unless they are in love or frequently hang out with unsavoury characters at random haunts around the country.
also, blasting spacey-sounding indie rock from the early 90s into my head helps as well. actually, the point is that by removing a sense to the environment, i tend to not care so much about what the people around me are doing, or looking at. i employ the previous tactic if i get this one doesn’t work and i start to feel irritated.
if all else fails, i have an official letter from singtel explaining my purpose. at the beginning of the project, i felt a greater obligation to explain myself to the shop assistants and managers. problem is, they will always claim that they are not suited to give me the go-ahead so they put me on the phone with some higher-up who will just ask me to contact the marketing & communcations department. so that got kind of old and i now mostly just shoot quickly and move on without saying much to anyone.
funny thing is, security has yet to give me problems. it is always the tenants.
for more on my thoughts, click here.