Perhaps, I am a Communist at heart. Or maybe I just have a big chip on my shoulder about not being able to afford fancy clothes and shoes. Or maybe I am more sensitive to the bitchiness of the “social upper class”.
A photographer is the fly on the wall. You hover around discreetly, using a telelens to zoom in on your subject. You are watching everyone intently, rubbing your hands in glee when you get the perfect expression.
But, most of us never think of ourselves as inferior. If anything, we have superiority issues, where we know we are making you look good.
It was yet another party, and a strong reminder of why I stopped shooting parties a long while ago. I was filling in for a friend, and hence had to be on my best behavior.
I’ve been jaded with parties for a while. The fake smiles, the stilted conversation, long pauses and forced laughter are hard to bear when you don’t have a glass of alcohol in your hand. Most of the people I know refuse to drink or even eat at these galas… we are waiting to finish our assignment, pack up and leave. We hit the cheapest drinking joint available, preferably a little dark and quiet where we can down drinks that cost 1/4th the price of the place we came from. It isn’t that we cannot afford the expensive booze.
We prefer not to. We want to drown out the absolute human plasticity we faced with the other extreme.
Why did last night’s shoot irk me so much? It wasn’t the location… I’ve been there, I’ve shot there.
It wasn’t the attitude of the hosts, which can be the case sometimes. They were sweet… even if a little insistent that I absolutely had to be standing around all the time with the camera on my face. Perhaps there are slackers in the field, but I do not know a single photographer who would just in the corner and not bother taking photographs. At the same time, you wouldn’t want to take a million photographs of a single person. Not even if they were related to you.
It was that one single person… there is one in every group. The one who thinks he is too good for the rest of the crowd and you just can’t be good enough. After making me feel responsible for packing up on scheduled time, insulting my efforts to help them out with another photographer, the man went on to suggest that he has a great camera and they would just use that. Politeness met its tragic end, I wished him luck and left.
This isn’t about the money… this is about the fact that there is a certain set of people who do not see the others are ‘people’. These others being the ones who are not on the same plateau as them. The only way they will notice them is if there is something lacking in service. If the soup isn’t hot enough, if the drinks aren’t served quick enough, if the photographer leaves before the party is over, if the musician develops a sore throat. These are people hired to create ambience… good enough. But they are given the same amount of respect as the candles, the tables and the chairs set around.
I shouldn’t be infuriated at this. I know there are instances I do this too… though I don’t think I ever treat anybody as furniture. I get pissed at their inefficiency, but there is always a goodwill with efficient service.
But people like this man is what makes me wanna hit some people in the face with a chair.