By Lizzie Darwin and Stephanie Jatnieks |
As a photographer, my goal is to achieve the aesthetic idea for each project. Never having been to Budapest before, I did not know what aesthetic I’d be going for regarding my pictures. Instead of getting anxious and stressing about it, I simply let it come to me once I got here.
One of my main goals is exposing the “unseen”. In short, I take pictures of what some consider to be irrelevant landmarks or even “dumb”. I prefer to stay original, and soon realized that I do not like to take pictures of the buildings everyone else has a solo in front of on their Instagram.
One of my favorite pictures exposing the unseen, is a cobblestone sidewalk covered in locals stepped on cigarettes. The significance of this picture shows the civilians living in the city. Another one is a graffitied wall I assume a resident created.
I realize these images do not seem interesting at first, or even related to where I am, but what makes it interesting is the pictures personal connection to city life. It captures more than a beautiful scene you can easily look up on Google Images or Pinterest. It’s something that can only be seen if you’re physically there. It represents the people who actually live in Budapest.
I love studying abroad because it is no vacation. You live here. That is what makes it such a unique experience and exactly what I want to achieve when taking pictures. It is easy to make a checklist of things you want to see for bragging rights or even a solo picture to post on your Instagram. It is easy to get caught up in tourism rather than learning about the modern times of the city’s life.
It’s important to take photos representing real life in the city, they let the viewer feel transported to that place, to feel the nuances and quirks that make a place feel real.
Photos of historical landmarks are breathtaking, yet only give an overview, a broad stroke of what a city or country is really like. Images such as the cobblestone street littered with cigarettes give an insight into history and culture.
You can tell the streets were constructed long ago and the people are avid smokers. Though you may be able to learn all these by reading a book or travel website, images give a more life-like feel, you can imagine what it would be like to walk down that street, to see people offering a light to others, to smell the smokiness in the air. Images can transport you.
Especially for social media, being able to tell a story with your pictures shows people parts of a place they have never seen before or couldn’t find with an easy Google search is imperative. Most people will only spend five seconds looking at an Instagram post as they scroll through their feed, pictures blurring together. The goal is to make them stop, to take a second and read the caption, admire the photo, and feel as if they are in that place from their bedroom. That is what will grab someone’s attention.
In a generation where most people spend a majority of their day on their phones, either for work or pleasure or to just past the time, photos play a large part of that. Most people don’t want to read about a place, they want to see a picture and move on. So not only by taking photos that give a more in-depth look, but sharing those photos, giving people an escape from their day to a whole other culture and world is why raw images are so important.