Sunday 24 October 2010

A nation of photographers and a nation of models


Canadian master photographer Ed Burtynsky got it half right while speaking at a Contact Photography Festival event when he told the media that Canada has become a nation of photographers. Cell Phone cameras. Cheap high def video cams. The explosive rise of the digital camera. Twitter Vids. You Tubes. Facebook. Canadians are documentary every aspect of life in this country.
Burtynsky, a Ryerson Polytechnical Institute grad, is world famous for his landscape photographs, so he should be excused for not mentioning the other half of the equation. Canadian has become a nation of models!
For every person who carries a camera to a public event, there is an equal or greater number of people willing and waiting to poise for that Kodak Moment. During Scotiabank Caribana 2010, 600 media, most of them videographers and photographers, registered to be on the parade route.
While the parade marshals find the photographers annoying in the least and downright disruptive in the pejorative, the barely clad dancers didn't mind stopping the parade to constantly pose for pictures. Within days of the Parade over 3,300 YouTube videos (marked Caribana) had been posted and 24,000 pictures (marked Caribana) posted on Flickr. And Facebook? 100,000 jpgs and counting.
It is not just events where body beautiful rules. On Saturday October 23rd my photographer son Andrew and myself took our cameras to Trinity Bellwood Park where 6,000 peoples drenched themselves in fake blood and shuffled through the park and into the streets of Toronto in the annual Zombie Walk.
There were hundreds and hundreds of photographers following the moaning, stumbling rag tag parade. The zombies had worked hard on their make-up and wanted to be photographed. Ever had a corpse ask you to take her picture? I have.
The Zombie Walk has no sponsors (save beyond a Henry's Camera portrait booth), and no actual raison d'etre. But because of the growing Yin and the Yang between people's need to be seen and people's need to be camera carrying voyeurs there is no stomping on Toronto's undead parade.
Top - Complete stranger asks Zombies to deadpan it for his camera. (But he still told them to say "Cheese")
Bottom - Andrew Weir's picture of the Zombie Parade - Trinity Bellwood Park.