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October 24, 2006

Just a rant on how the war on Terror is affecting my hobbies

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 10:56 AM

This is just a rant on how the war on Terror is affecting our regular lives.

Those of you who know me know that I love taking photos. I used to take photographs at the drop of a hat of anything and everything I found interesting. But now I am scared to do so. You never know when some idiot is going to decide that you are a terrorist because you are dark skinned male in his 20’s and doing something thats too complicated for his/her tiny brain to comprehend…

A couple of days ago I was driving back to New Jersey from New York via one of the tunnels and I saw the machine they use to clean the tunnel walls and I wanted to take a picture of it as its something unique and interesting. Surabhi and Vinit both told me not to because photography is prohibited in the tunnel and that it might get me in trouble so I didn’t take the photo, but I wanted to… and will always regret that I couldn’t. Whats there in the tunnel that I would capture with my camera phone that I couldn’t find on the internet? There are photos available online of the entire system and its not like the stupid thing changes every year…

When I took a photograph of an interesting advertisement I saw on the subway station a few days ago I actually stopped and thought about whether it was safe to take a photo of a stupid poster without getting in trouble. How bad is that? A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have even thought about it and would have clicked multiple pics from different angles. Now I had to look around make sure no one was paying attention and then take the picture. Basically I had to hide what I was doing… which I shouldn’t have to, I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

Then on my way back I was reading the PATH Rules and regulations (What can I say… I was bored) and they have some serious restrictions on taking photos in the Path station also. According to the rules I can’t take a photo in the path train without being accompanied by a PATH employee and after having filled out a bunch of paperwork. How sad is that? I agree with the fact that they won’t let you take pics of the emergency gear and the control systems but whats wrong with me taking a photo of me and my friends sitting in the PATH on my way to having a good time in the city? Though to be honest I haven’t been stopped by anyone yet.

Whats especially annoying is that we are missing out on so much… If this goes on and more and more photographers stop taking photos then the future generations won’t be able to look at how the local subway/shop looked a generation ago. They won’t have any pictures/references of the daily life of everyday people all they will have for reference are the glam shots and the posed pictures which are approved. This would suck…

The spontaneous photographers give you an unrehearsed snapshot of a particular moment. I hate taking posed pictures as I rarely like the way they come out. The best pictures I have taken are the spur of the moment random shot of something that looks interesting, of someone doing something silly or just a person going on with their life naturally. It gives you an deep insight into human nature. Think about it, if a person knows that they are about to be photographed they will act differently no matter how hard they try to be casual and act normal. It shows in the picture. A spontaneous photograph is a photo of a person/object that is taken when the subject is going on with its daily life. Its natural and it shows. Its an art form and unfortunately its dying.

The worst part is that I am staying in New York and the photo opportunities over here are endless and I can’t take it… :( Well its the same thing in any major city but… you know what I mean. New York is unique. Though Delhi also has some amazing photo opportunities and the next time I am there I will have my new camera so will photograph everything. Just wait and see…

– Suramya

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