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ken straiton
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On a visit to Angkor 3 years ago I had a close encounter with the "Most Tourists Take Pictures from the Same Spot" problem. As a result of my frustration, then action I got a standing ovation at Ta Prom temple. Ta Prom is one of the most visited temples at Angkor, and its draw, which certainly captured my imagination, is that it has been left largely unreconstructed. The roots of huge kapok trees snake over and around the stone structures, while, of course, prying them apart. One of the most famous, and most photographed, locations at Ta Prom also happens to make an ideal frame for tourists to pose and have their photo taken. I had returned to this site in the late afternoon, because the morning light had not worked at all, and, with the faint hope that the traffic might have died off a little, just an hour before sunset. Ha! Even on the first of my three days here the number of Chinese tourists was notable, but by yesterday it had become an inundation . As I entered the particular courtyard of the temple where this famous root grows, I was confronted with this scene - a waiting room of people, in a haze of dust and mounting frustration, most of whom were just jockeying for their moment to pose themselves or family members or friends, or more likely some permutations and combinations of those. All I wanted to do was make my shot, sans people, which would not take long, but, while the snap-shooters were being reasonably orderly and considerate, in keeping out of each others' way, (especially for Chinese, but then this was not your common train station rabble of migrant workers here on tour at Angkor), there was not a millisecond left free of people clambering around for position or a pose. I could see where this was going - nowhere at all for me - so I edged my way to the front and when the moment presented itself stepped into the center, snapped a few frames of the milling crowd, then, while some fellow tourist/photographers were madly waving me aside, I shouted out, "if anyone wants to take a photo with NO-ONE in it, NOW is your chance", and leapt back into the crowd, to cheers and applause, to try to get a shot in. Eager Chinese of course immediately tried to fill the vacuum, but I think some of their English speaking compatriots picked up on the mood and held them back for a few minutes. What I got was hardly a carefully considered or original shot, but it was a prize of sorts, after all.
Subjectivity is part of the equation, and there is no way around it. It is impossible to produce a photo without some choices having been made, and it is up to the judges to apply their own subjective criteria to what is best and what even qualifies to be judged. I use a Nikon and know that the raw files are usually far from perceived reality. They are typically flat and often washed out compared to the way we see reality, or how we are used to reality being represented in print. For me they are the digital equivalent of a negative. But, I do think that Christensen has taken the processing too far and overworked his photos. Some, or all of them, might have been stronger in the end with less intervention, as more credible presentations of the reality he witnessed. I agree with John Camp, 'The basic rule is, "Do not misrepresent." That leaves room for adjustments...'. There is a place for looking at creative images, where aesthetics and emotional content are the main criteria. There is also a place, and need, for fairly interpreted representations of reality that tell us about the world in a reliable way.
Many of your respondents' suggestions are on my own list, but some ignore your criteria that the scripts be in English, (though I suppose some scripts might be available in translation). Also, you did not mention why you wanted to read film scripts - as research or as a form of literature? Does a good film mean that its script would be good reading? And does a film script derived from a play count? A few titles that might meet your qualifications: Trouble in Paradise 1932 dir. by Ernst Lubitsch It Happened One Night 1934 by Frank Capra Me and You and Everyone We Know 2005 dir. Miranda July Junebug 2005 dir. Phil Morrison
Toggle Commented Mar 22, 2009 on OT: Movie Question at The Online Photographer