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  1. #21
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Just to clarify.... the whole reason for doing this one film is that it would be a way to have everybody shooting the same way, using the exact same medium, the exact same camera. Yes I know there are p&s cameras and cell phone digicams, but you see, then the apparent "quality" of the image (which we see in publication or on web) is determined by the financial position of the person and their skill level with that equipment. In some sense, a simple film p&s or holga could be a great equalizer.

    Imagine, for example, an Iraqi kid and a parliamentarian and foreign soldier all using the same camera. That places them all, in a sense, at the same level in terms of what they capture and how they capture it. Then the only variable is their individual perspective. the idea is to do everyhting I can to make their perspective the major determinant of what they capture- not social level, education... number of f&@#ing megapixels....

    So, I understand fully that people do have cell phones and digital cams etc., but again, the point is to create a "day in the life" project in which people have equal opportunity to represent their perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by firecracker View Post
    What troubles me is that you said in your earlier post that you can't go to Iraq because of your family, etc, but you expect something from the people you don't even know and/or are not going to meet at all? You don't think that they have the same concerns and priorities as you do?
    Well, presumably a native knows more about their security situation than I do. Frankly, if I went over and walk down Main Street Baghdad with my cameras I would (a) be a sitting duck and (b) wouldn't necessarily find a perspective that is any more original than every other journalist on the ground there. I exude westerness, I can't help it As for the safety/ethics issue, I was merely musing that this project would, in essence, pass the buck on to those people who do the actual photography. So there is some fundamental ethics in play, but I would not be forcing anyone to do photography. My role, ethically, would be to arrange as equal access to the cameras as possible, to collect the output, and to try not to filter the images I receive from them, but rather to try to see them published as a whole entity (misexposed frames notwithstanding!). I also think that the idea of a roll of film being their individual story is attractive. With digital imges, that story has no well defined beginning and end.

    C'mon fellas, don't make me have to defend film in this thread, the advantages should be obvious to all of you

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts!

    P.S. Look, I grew up in war zone in Africa, I know very well, firsthand, how one-sided news reporting can be and how many different perspectives there can be of one event. Just for the record, the world is only just now starting to see the issues in Zimbabwe that I grew up around and understood intimately. My neighbors were killed by the "freedom fighters" for chrisakes, where was that in the media in 1980? Anyway... I suppose that experience is what motivates me here, pure and simple: see what others can see, let them take us places that we cannot [yet] go.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by edz View Post
    Its Iraq 2008 and not Afghanistan1978 (ok, Kabul had LOADS of cameras). Large numbers of people today have cellular telephones and these include cameras. Few people in Iraq are interested in analog cameras. Its considered "old fashioned".


    There are LOADS of cameras in Iraq. Iraq is not Saudi Arabia. Many people studied abroad and the middle and educated classes tended to have a very good standard of living to European and American standards.
    You go into the shanty towns and poor city areas? If the cameras have any value they'd vanish f-a-s-t into odd channels. Is just how things work and NOT JUST in Iraq. Same in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria etc. If the cameras don't have any value (and value is about perceived value) then nobody will be interested.
    I would also like to point out that Iraq is not a vacuum. Many artists and intellectuals are already doing their most to try to photo document daily life.


    Its a bad idea . Digital cameras, digital video, cameras on cell phones (and many include these days video functionality) are already quite widespread in Iraq. By even conservative estimates there are over 10 million cellular telephone subscribers (and growing).

    Throughout the middle east and north Africa there is absolutely NO shortage of cameras and infrastructure for communication. There is a shortage of the freedom to speak out.
    I'm in agreement with Ed.

    Don Bryant
    Don Bryant

  3. #23
    edz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Rogers View Post
    Am I missing something?
    Spy and secret agents are the guys with Minox cameras!

    If you want to take pictures and not stick out these days you use a cell phone. Minox subminiature cameras are for getting noticed striking up conversations.

    One of the more interesting (quirkier) cameras that the East German secret police used (for crowd surveillance) was a TLR (Meopta Flexarette) with a silenced Robot 50 hidden inside. A Robot as an usual camera would have been noticed. An old TLR was nothing to take notice of--- especially closed in its case.

    Throughout most the world today (especially Middle East) cameras stick out as their middle classes, for the most part, consider them old stuff and obsolete. On development projects (research) with Middle East and Mediterranean partners when I pull out one of my cameras its always greeted with curiosity (and considered a bit freakish). Alongside everyone's cell phones with cameras nearly all also have a newish digital camera (sometimes purchased just before a conference).

    Sometimes its not the act of taking a picture that presents a problem but the "performance". During the cold war visiting East Berlin, the not-so secret police accepted that people had ordinary cameras but if someone was to pull out an Arriflex they'd be in deep !@# as an unauthorized TV journalist as **all** 16mm cine cameras required a special authorization. Its about perception and not logic. I was once stopped at the East/West crosspoint with my Bolex but (luckily) the police just laughed at the funny old fashioned wind-up camera.

    What do you think would happen if I stood across the road (in front of the park) from the White House or the Pentagon with a 1000mm Astro Berlin telephoto attached to a 1940s camera (the state of the early 1940s art)? You bet someone with a pod-in-their-ear would come over to have a lookie....
    Edward C. Zimmermann
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  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by edz View Post
    Spy and secret agents are the guys with Minox cameras!

    If you want to take pictures and not stick out these days you use a cell phone. Minox subminiature cameras are for getting noticed striking up conversations.

    One of the more interesting (quirkier) cameras that the East German secret police used (for crowd surveillance) was a TLR (Meopta Flexarette) with a silenced Robot 50 hidden inside. A Robot as an usual camera would have been noticed. An old TLR was nothing to take notice of--- especially closed in its case.

    Throughout most the world today (especially Middle East) cameras stick out as their middle classes, for the most part, consider them old stuff and obsolete. On development projects (research) with Middle East and Mediterranean partners when I pull out one of my cameras its always greeted with curiosity (and considered a bit freakish). Alongside everyone's cell phones with cameras nearly all also have a newish digital camera (sometimes purchased just before a conference).

    Sometimes its not the act of taking a picture that presents a problem but the "performance". During the cold war visiting East Berlin, the not-so secret police accepted that people had ordinary cameras but if someone was to pull out an Arriflex they'd be in deep !@# as an unauthorized TV journalist as **all** 16mm cine cameras required a special authorization. Its about perception and not logic. I was once stopped at the East/West crosspoint with my Bolex but (luckily) the police just laughed at the funny old fashioned wind-up camera.

    What do you think would happen if I stood across the road (in front of the park) from the White House or the Pentagon with a 1000mm Astro Berlin telephoto attached to a 1940s camera (the state of the early 1940s art)? You bet someone with a pod-in-their-ear would come over to have a lookie....
    Reminds of a Japanese journalist who has just returned from Iraq after staying there for 9 months or so by smuggling and working in a kitchen as a cook. He said in his blog he was literally spying on the mercenaries and the outside scenes and sometimes going out with his camera phone and took pics. But it turned out the quality of the photos was so poor, I guess in low light it was useless, and he only got pretty poor audio of bomb explosion, etc. But he's a good writer and has been writing about it ever since, so I guess he didn't lose much...

  5. #25

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    I'm surprised the OP believes there is a dearth of photos flowing out of Iraq for all the world to see from all sorts of "shooters" revealing all aspects of society.

    A more untold story, IMHO, is that of the 4 million displaced Iraqi refugees scattered around the ME - particularly in Syria and Jordan. There's a photojournalist story looking to be shot.

    Not to mention the juxtaposition of the relatively peaceful Kurdish north of Iraq. Which just "motors away" toward de facto independence under watchful US eyes (provided they don't piss off Turkey by aligning with the PK) even as the Sunnis and Shiites slaughter each other down south.

    And besides, isn't this whole war a 24/7 internet special?

    Where's the need for this kind of film project in Iraq 2008?

  6. #26
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Frankly this thread is a disappointment.

    I have people telling me that cell phones and digicams are good enough for my purposes, and I have people telling me that the narrated images I am seeing on my telly are all I need to form an opinion. And I have people who seem absolutely determined to inject politics at every turn. Now I have some newbie telling me that there are other stories more worth telling, as if the idea were somehow limited to the green zone in Baghdad.

    End of thread for me. Thanks to those of you who did offer constructive comments.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  7. #27
    edz
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    Frankly this thread is a disappointment.
    Then let it be a disappointment. Fact is that the Iraq story is a TV and media spectacular. Much of the violence is made for TV and feeds on the global media perception. Much of the suicide bombing (shahid is a witness and demands witness) are about the media. This is, of course, not limited to Iraq.

    I have people telling me that cell phones and digicams are good enough for my purposes,
    The question is: What's your purpose?

    and I have people telling me that the narrated images I am seeing on my telly are all I need to form an opinion.
    The problem is that you HAVE FORMED an opinion and are NOT looking for information to understand but to reinforce and strengthen whatever arbitrary opinion you might already have formed--- on the basis of your media inputs and peer judgments.

    Do you want to tell a story (and for what aims) or have an art project prostitute a conflict? The media should NOT be the message. The story should be the message!

    Now I have some newbie telling me
    "Newbie"? New at what?

    that there are other stories more worth telling,
    I think the argument (and one that I'd agree to) is that there are loads of other stories that are not being told. Aid and development that's being rerouted to high profile media spectacles. NGOs too are about money and they chase the "big stories". Its never about truth when the truth can't be sold.

    End of thread for me. Thanks to those of you who did offer constructive comments.
    And this is where the STORY starts!
    Edward C. Zimmermann
    BSn R&D // http://www.nonmonotonic.net

  8. #28

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    The question is: What's your purpose?
    Good Question

    The problem is that you HAVE FORMED an opinion and are NOT looking for information to understand but to reinforce and strengthen whatever arbitrary opinion you might already have formed--- on the basis of your media inputs and peer judgments.
    On what evidence do you base this claim?

    Do you... have an art project prostitute a conflict?
    What on earth does THAT mean?

    Why are you so angry?
    I have little idea what Keith has in mind with his project, Do you think you do?
    You seem to have a grudge of some sort... There are lots of places where this sort of thing has been done, variation on themes eg giving children tape recorders (VOA/NPR?) and video cameras (NHK?) the concept is not new but I still don't see what brings out all the Hostilty I sense when I read your post...

    You MUST be thinking something deeper than meets the eye...
    but I still miss the picture here.

    Spys? Yea, Hidden in plain sight works!
    but cameras for the people need not be about espionage....

    Do they?


    Ed,
    Thanks for your reply to my other question in this thread.
    If you get the chance, do try to answer my PM about organometallic stabilizers...TIA.

  9. #29
    keithwms's Avatar
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    I will confess some curiosity about why the thread persisted after I left it.

    I have no political motive (of which I am consciously aware)... I simply think it'd be reasonable to give people the opportunity to use instant film to capture their own perspective... of a conflict in which media information is very, very limited. If anybody thinks the media access isn't extremely limited wants to argue that point, please start another thread. I'll just note that media orgs from CNN to Al Jazeera have lost many personnel in Iraq. I recall that the total media deaths passed 100 almost two years ago. And no, I don't consider video feed from a predator drone to be media coverage on the ground.

    My idea is simply to provide a standardized way for people of all walks of life to capture their perspective. Thus there is an implicit assumption that there is something else in the story that is worth recording. So, if a person doesn't first accept that there is more, then I suppose that a dismissive attitude could emerge. I can't rationalize a bitter or grudging attitude from someone who doesn't know me, so I will merely confess amusement.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    I will confess some curiosity about why the thread persisted after I left it.

    I have no political motive (of which I am consciously aware)... I simply think it'd be reasonable to give people the opportunity to use instant film to capture their own perspective... of a conflict in which media information is very, very limited. If anybody thinks the media access isn't extremely limited wants to argue that point, please start another thread. I'll just note that media orgs from CNN to Al Jazeera have lost many personnel in Iraq. I recall that the total media deaths passed 100 almost two years ago. And no, I don't consider video feed from a predator drone to be media coverage on the ground.

    My idea is simply to provide a standardized way for people of all walks of life to capture their perspective. Thus there is an implicit assumption that there is something else in the story that is worth recording. So, if a person doesn't first accept that there is more, then I suppose that a dismissive attitude could emerge. I can't rationalize a bitter or grudging attitude from someone who doesn't know me, so I will merely confess amusement.
    At the risk of being labeled a "newbie" in responding on this thread, I wonder why you think disposable film cameras (the ubiquitous wedding reception "table toy") would be the preferred means of accomplishing your task?

    Wouldn't it be a lot easier, and the means already in place, to just ask for medium-level JPEG submissions?

    Not to belittle film on a film site - but why would you call upon what is now a "specialized medium" to do a commonplace assignment?

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