Sunday, February 17, 2008

[Self] Interview Part II

rb: ”Oh, it is you again.”

us: “Yes, it is me again. I was wondering whether we could continue our interview, or little talk if you prefer that term.”

rb: ”Well, I am not in the best of moods right now.”

us: “I can see that.”

rb: “But now that you are here, I probably could use a bit of company right now.”

us: “Why are you in such a sombre mood at the moment?”

rb: “It is not easy to explain.”

us: “Then try… We have some time, I guess. Try for me or for the sake of yourself if you want to be your introverted self.”

rb: “Ha, introverted self… That’s a good one. I haven’t heard that for a while.”

us: “So, do you want to tell me why you are in such a bad mood?”

rb: “I went to the Khayelitsha township today and tagged along with a social worker… While I was deeply ‘impressed’ - for want of a better word – of the place… in a sense that it made a deep impression on me… I did not manage to take one decent photograph of the place, the people or for my street children project…”

us: “Why is that? Shouldn’t that have been easy with all the access you had?”

rb: “Right... yes, in theory… and on a superficial level… but when I went into the homes with the social worker, I saw all these very poor and underprivileged people… but I could not see beyond the cliché, which I did not want to photograph… you know, what is the right word…”

us: “You saw an overcrowded room with five kids sleeping on the floor on dirt stained mattresses with a mother lying next to them, bereft of a husband either through AIDS, alcohol or another woman.”

rb: “Exactly… but how do you photograph this poverty, this misery without resorting to clichés and without exploiting the situation? I was really struggling with it.”

us: “I see.”

rb: “Don’t get me wrong… this is the brutal reality there… people are suffering and are on the lowest levels of society… often with little hope of change for the better…”

us: “I start to see what you mean.”

rb: “…And it is no wonder, that these kids, growing up in this environment with no hope for a better future resort to begging, drugs and crime…”

us: “So, how did you react? What did you end up doing?”

rb: “The kids were kind of curious… I was soon dubbed the man with the big arms and the camera… So I did a few portraits of the kids and the mother, which I aim to bring back next week when I will return…”

us: “So your trip had one purpose at least.”

rb: “Sort of… You know, sometimes I think that this is all too hard and that I should do stills photography, advertising or fashion, something more ‘shallow’… and leave this kind of documentary to the really gifted photographers…”

us: “Now you are being too harsh on yourself.”

rb: “Maybe, I was never one to be emotionally level headed… it is either way up or way down…”

us: “Today, probably I should suggest to leave it here and continue some other time.”

rb: “Thanks, I appreciate it.”

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