It’s an interesting connundrum when you do travel or photojournalistic-style photography. Your main goal is telling a story, and that might mean including quite a bit of information. In this picture, what caught my eye right away was the guy on the phone with one foot bare – and the story was he was waiting or his shoe to be repaired in the shop. I made this image ‘quickly’ before the moment changed, and then thought I might like to come in closer/frame it tighter. But if I did, I lost the shop sign, and that was part of the story. If I kept the sign, I’d be losing the guy’s feet, and they were part of the story, too. At 40mm on my lens, there wasn’t much I could do to improve on the image, and with the reflective foil wall inside the shop, I didn’t want to make that any larger by getting closer. In the end, this was the best way I could see to capture the moment, but it’s a complex picture because Bhutan is one colorful place with a lot of ‘stuff’ on their shop fronts. Though I love to simplify scenes when I travel, sometimes the story is in all the little details that make the picture work.
How do you see Bhutan changing and what’s in store for future generations?
Good question, Kalani. What I have seen in just the three trips I’ve made since April 2008 is increased building of hotels, as they open up to more tourism, along with other building near the main cities. Internet is pretty available to the people, and cell phones of course, and all the electronic gadgets are brought in from India/China. Still, right now, it’s pretty darn traditional regardless of those ‘amenities’ – and as you travel to just outside the main cities, you find the lifestyle more traditional and more rural quickly. It’s a constitutional monarchy with a democratic society now, but that is all still pretty new to the country as a whole and they still love and rely on their king for guidance. He’s a young man in his 30’s but very responsible and all the past king and queens are involved in keeping the goodwill with the people. I believe that Bhutan will have a great challenge to maintain its traditions as they reach out to the westernized world, but those will not go completely away. The government is working hard to keep things in balance.
What a wonderful photograph, Brenda! One-shoe grabs the eye right away, and look how the angle of his leg points to the cobbler inside. I strain trying to see what’s happening in the shop, then my eye wanders all over the rest of the picture, delighting in all the little details. Look at the decorative touches above the door, what’s on the shelf on the right? what are those green balls? I’d love to see this image big enough to really study all those wonderful details.
Thanks, Greg. Yes, it’s an image that has to be larger, as often is the case with complex images, to see all the details. When it’s larger, the shop interior shows a bit more and those details become a little more ‘clear’ – but those green balls? Who knows – some toy-filled plastic I think…thanks for commenting!
This works extremely well Brenda. Love this image. Your blog thoughts are right on the money! Great choices.