Tuesday, February 3

Marienplatz at noon

This is my first photo post since the beginning of the semester and since I enrolled in Philosophy of Art and History of Photography. Ostensibly, both these classes aim to improve my critical skills. Let's see how well those are working out.

We begin by observing, noting what is in the image. We see a crowd of tourists, digital cameras all aimed at the same spot. Some are smiling. Some are a little more intense, perhaps waiting for the exact right moment to preserve and share with their friends. Only one woman, the blonde with a white scarf in the midground, seems aware that the crowd has itself become the subject of a photo. The title reveals the location and time of the shot. By itself, this is of little help, but seeing as how I spent several months studying in Munich last year, I know that this is where and when one can observe the renowned Rathaus-Glockenspiel play and dance.

Considering all this, I believe the photographer is attempting to make a statement on the banality of photos taken while on tour. Everyone takes a picture of the same thing even when a static image on the thing lacks any interest whatsoever. The puppets on the Glockenspiel move on fixed tracks and, if they're feeling frisky, rotate. The pictures being taken in this photo even lack the personal touch one creates when they put a friend or family member into the frame alongside the primary subject. It is as though these people want to fill their digital albums with pictures they'll immediately skip over. If they appreciate the Glockenspiel that much, there are postcards readily available with images far superior to anything they could manage. It is not a bad message, but the photographer's technical incompetence distracts from it. Really, what amateur puts a street sign directly behind the head of a person?

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