Archives for the month of: Junho, 2012

Vejam se isto não é de dar pena.

(O mundo fica triste quando vê a crise chegar ao turismo de luxo.)

Autóctones na América do Sul, os jacarandás ajudam a definir a paisagem de cidades como Buenos Aires ou Montevideo.

Debaixo de um jacarandá, Lisboa, 2012, Andrea Morgenstern

Como tantas outras importações que marcam a paisagem da nossa elegante Lisboa, também por cá eles revelam os seus encantos. Principalmente nesta época do ano, em que o azul violeta das suas flores introduz novas tonalidades no céu ou simplesmente salpica, a pinceladas grosseiras, as calçadas que pisamos.

Jacarandás com o Tejo e o céu como fundo, Lisboa, 2012, Andrea Morgenstern

As sombras dos seus ramos produzem pinturas efémeras no chão, cuja beleza desconcertante (não será, aliás, toda a beleza efémera desconcertante para o homem [sempre obcecado em conservar ad aeternum ‘o belo’ nos seus museus]?) leva facilmente à loucura todo aquele que se disponha a entregar-se livremente à sua linguagem sem idioma, a mesma que apenas os grandes improvisadores também conseguem criar na sua música:

Sombreado improvisado por jacarandá, Lisboa, 2012, Andrea Morgenstern

A capa do novo guia de restauração do Porto revela uma verdade fundamental, Porto, 2012

“Mass tourism is one of the subjects I have photographed consistently over the years. I have documented many of the most well known tourist sites in the world including Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat and Copacabana beach. Tourism is the biggest industry in the world and the tourist spend is always growing, despite the current downturn in global economies.

One thing that has really changed in recent years is how the tourist uses photography. When I started shooting this topic many years ago, people would take one photo of themselves in front of the site and move on. Now mobile phone cameras and digital photography mean that the entire visit is documented. From the moment the tourist enters the site, everyone has to be photographed in front of every feature of note. Now it is almost impossible for me to shoot a photo where someone is NOT taking a picture or posing for one. So I am under the impression that no-one is really paying attention to the splendours and beauties of the site, as the urge to photograph is so overwhelming. The photographic record of the visit has almost destroyed the very notion of actually looking.

The question I keep asking myself is what happens with all these images? I assume most are loaded onto Facebook or other social networking sites. But is anyone really interested in seeing hundreds of images of you in front of say Sagrada Familia? Probably not. But they will have to look at them anyway. In the days of analogue, photos were printed up then carefully selected images were placed in an album. Now they just hang around clogging up the hard drive on the laptop or phone.

I was motivated to write this blog by a recent visit to Barcelona, a city enjoying a massive tourist renaissance. I was there taking photos for an upcoming show at the CCCB, having decided to visit during Easter when I knew it would be busy. Every attraction had huge lines, but the most overrun of all was Gaudi’s Park Guiln in the north of the city.

The famous ceramic lizard was the main hot spot; throngs of visitors queued to be photographed as near as possible to this icon. It was sheer madness, as hundreds of people tried to get the same photo at the same time. I imagine Gaudi turning in his grave.

While I am on the topic of tourism, I often wonder why people buy souvenirs when they are so patently useless. The urge to buy souvenirs seems second only to the compulsion to take photographs. Every time I visit a charity shop, I marvel at the shelves full of discarded souvenirs. They have fulfilled their function as the climax of any pilgrimage and they can therefore be given away. There must a dawning realisation that the purchase is entirely pointless.

Hang on, I hear you say, surely this is all too cynical. For if anyone has a shocking carbon footprint it is me. What am I doing at these sites? Doing exactly what I am now questioning ie taking photographs. Do I think tourism is good thing? Of course. It provides a much needed economic boost to countries that are struggling. It educates and enlightens the tourist. Perhaps it is the iconic sites that we all know before we get there that are in danger of becoming overwhelmed. Other equally impressive but less known sites tend to become overlooked.

My theory is that the act of photographing ourselves at tourist sites becomes so important because it makes us feel reassured that we are a part of the recognisable world.”

Martin Parr, Abril de 2012.

“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” Bo Derek.

“Shopping is better than sex.” Adrienne Gusoff

“Don’t ask me crazy stuff: I just wanna go shopping”, 2011, Hannelore Foerster / Bloomberg

No Porto (Fontinha) e em Lisboa (São Lázaro), o poder desocupou violentamente dois imóveis que, por estarem abandonados, tinham sido recentemente ocupados, não por especuladores, mas por pessoas que necessitavam de um espaço na sua cidade para desenvolverem diversas actividades culturais de que, de um modo geral, a comunidade estava privada.

Quase 40 anos após o 25 de Abril, ficamos todos a saber o que muitos já pressentiam:

“For me the best Zara is the one in Salamanca”, 2007, Torke

deixou de haver lugar para as margens neste país; a ideia é deixarmo-nos levar pela força da corrente do rio, caladinhos, sem questionar o seu rumo, sem tentar nadar para as margens (se o ousarmos fazer, a polícia de choque entra instantaneamente em acção).

É triste um rio sem margens e sem contrastes. (Mais triste é a vida daquele que não o percebe.)

Bornova shopping mall, Izmir, Turquia, 2007, DU999

Para onde nos arrasta o rio, no seu curso monótono e impiedoso?

O último exemplo é a violenta desocupação do número 94 da rua São Lázaro: