News - April 5, 2012

Too many photos? Why not?

I used to think our East Asian were the only group with the stereotyped photo-taking-mania. Yet last week I started to wonder if we might not photo alone.

Take a picture and say hello to the advent of spring
I joined a happy bicycle tour last Sunday. A small phenomenon in the tour group caught my attention: quite a few people, either from India, Spain or Latino countries, were busying taking pictures along the way.

It recalled my days of the AID 2010: in China I never experienced such splendid introduction days, instead as freshmen we were greeted by an intensive military training week. Everything then was new to me. I wanted to capture every blissful moment. Watching me keep clicking the shutters, a Dutch buddy plucked up her courage and asked me: 'why are the Asian taking photos everywhere?' I failed to answer her question and that continued to haunt me for a long time; little by little I was almost assimilated into a no-photo Dutch person and shy to show my camera, until I encountered those people in the tour.

Blossoms, houses, or even the people on the bikes, they took pictures for everything. They gave me a lecture: isn't it just our nature, a desire for the beauty? Especially when one goes abroad to study or travel, nothing is more convenient than a camera to log the journey and share with friends and parents. Grass on the other side of the hill is greener; maybe as foreigners we can identify more beauties from the things, which the Dutch regard as an ordinary constituent of their unvarying life. Actually some Dutch do the same things when they visit a new culture, which you can see on their Facebook. So maybe we are not that different after all.

Thanks to the 'photographers' of the bicycle tour, now I know how to answer my Dutch buddy's question: Why not? It's just who I am, a guy who loves photographing, loves beauty and loves recording the life.

Vid of the Week How do Asians take pictures? Here's a good example.