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Street 21
Street 21
Yangon, Myanmar
By Timothy M. Leonar...
Photo book
Amazon Associate

Entries in camera (1)


Feel Experience With Camera

How many tourists see only through their phone camera? Millions, said Rita.

She is a tour quide, archeologist and author of Ice Girl in Banlung. She continued...

They feel the experience of 8th century Angkor artistic splendor only with their cameras, cold impersonal little tools. Their experience is defined by camera. Obscura.

Do you remember Li, the trek leader in Sapa, Vietnam talking about Hanoi day trippers with cameras? How she said, it’s fucking hilarious? Same here.

For the majority of tourists it’s not about understanding the Khmer people, culture, food, art, music, and language. It’s about feeling with a camera. They are in a big fat hurry.

Rita (L) and friends

They’ve learned through hard fast lessons to trust the machine. It is their weapon against mediocrity and boredom and shallow emptiness. They don’t comprehend the intricacies of the machine. They believe it can and will save them. The machine controls them. They gratefully accept this reality.

They press optical machines tight against their faces, piercing retinas, flickering lids. Point and shoot. They lower the device and stare with hard lost eyes at the image of their faded memory. They judge it. Crimping. Evaluate. DELETE.

Shoot again. Point. Shoot. Delete. Repeat. A snapshot. Snap a shot. Preserve this moment forever. Quick. They must go. They must move to the next great big thing. They are in a hurry. Death is closer than white on rice.

The tuk-tuk driver is impatient. He wants more money for his time. He waited when tourists slept, while they screwed. He waited as they stuffed eggs, watermelon and soft bread into tired bored faces. They ate like animals. They point and shoot. They delete.

Hurry. They have no time to see their obscurity. This loss, this sense of amnesia envelops them. It accompanies them through radioactive meltdowns. It is a dark cloud of forgetting. They remember to forget. They are on a Homeric quest of infinite proportions and magnitude. 

Their memory card is full. They attach electrodes to a cerebral cortex and press the DownLoad switch. Memories of Apsara dancers, elephants, monkeys, celestial deities flicker on a screen behind their eyes.

Avalokiteshvara - the Bodhisattva of Compassion smiles.