There were several topics that Charles Traub talked about that grasped my interest: (i) the talk about difference between a ‘snapshot’ and a ‘street portrait’; (ii) the difficulties of capturing the ‘realness’ where masks could be abundant; and (iii) the mentioning of “globalization making everyone similar.”
Distinguishing ‘portraits’ (photography) from ‘snapshots’ was something that had never really crossed my mind before. With the easy accessibility to cameras, on our phones, on our laptops and digital cameras in recent years, pictures of many forms have become abundant and available. And amongst many of these photos that contain people, the ones that go up on social media and we see more often are snapshots. Snapshots are taken in a more casual way as opposed to ‘portrait’ photography which are taken for a more artistic purpose and in a more organized/structured manner than a snapshot. The increase in photo abundance has perhaps, makes it more important to make the distinctions between casual snapshots and artistic portrait photography. It is also interesting how the lines are beginning between photography as a profession and photography/casual photo-taking done by non-professionals are becoming blurred. It appears that there are more and more ‘artistic’ photos that are out on the web that are not taken by professional photographers.
The second topic that I was interested in was the difficulties in capturing ‘realness.’ I could see how this could be a difficulty in photography, especially when taking humans as the object. Once people are asked to be taken a picture of, they often put on a ‘camera mask’ (especially people who are socialized to) and it becomes harder to capture the ‘realness’ in them anymore. It becomes a challenging task to capture the right moment when the person is relaxed and reveals the ‘realness’ in them. Despite such difficulty, I was amazed as to how Charles Traub and other photographers I whose work I have seen in the past can capture ‘realness’ and a distinct atmosphere that comes with it in a photograph.
Lastly, the talk on globalization and how it “makes people look similar,” intrigued me. I have heard many debates about globalization and its effects in sociological, economical and political contexts in the past. However, I have never really considered its effects in the area of arts before. Hence, it was interesting to hear about the effects of globalization from an artist. With globalization and the loss or decrease in distinct cultural practices and features of people, it could become more difficult to capture something that is more unique and striking to viewers. However, I am not sure if I agree entirely that it necessarily “makes people look more similar” or in Traub’s words, “boring.” With conversion of different cultures there could arise new “cultures”/ types of people or practices. In my opinion, these new “cultures” or people could be an interesting thing to capture in arts too.