As a direct result of the Nomads project being featured on Lenscratch a couple of weeks ago, two other blogs have picked up and featured the work. Both are outside the country. The first is Esquire Online Magazine – the Russian counter to the American version. It is essentially a gallery feature, and it’s not really necessary, but an english translation can be seen here. It can take a minute for the translation to actually show up, so be patient. It is always kind of interesting to see how the translators decipher the text.
This is especially the challenge with the second blog. Radek Burda is a photographer and blogger in the Czech republic. I agreed to allow him to use my images for his blog and he wrote some opinion on the work as well. I had no idea what he would write, and when it was posted, it was of course in Czech. To see the un-translated version, click here.
Curiosity was killing me. I had to know what he said. So I tried several of the free online translators to see if I could get a reasonable idea. Imagine my chagrin when the first one spit out: “Radek Burda is blogging: How to do a photo quite bad.” Yikes! Could this be my first trashing? I tried another translator: “Radek Burda blogs: How do the photo completely stupid.” Oh God, he’s killing me! I tried a third translator: “Radek Burda is blogging: How not to do a photograph completely wrong.” Well that sounds a little better anyway. At least now I’m not feeling completely ripped. I went on to try and read the entire post. Each different translator came up with a different version – sometimes virtually opposite in meaning. None were extremely clear, but overall it turned out to be quite a complementary piece on the project.
He begins by (and this is my interpretation of the translation) commenting on a tendency for many photographers to go for the “Beautiful People” type expose, or those photographers who exploit the misfortunes of others in far flung places to further their own standing as important story tellers. He speaks about the safeness of kitsch and how one never really needs to think about it. Radek wants to look at these tendencies in a more positive way. He talks about the “human” photographs that can be taken in one’s own backyard. No need to find “…a drastic disaster, such as floods, fires, street boys’ prostitution, drugs, delinquency, and Slovakia, and spicy all these trivial again. Just ordinary white people who even have WiFi and Skype, and when you invite them to lunch, so even zují and eat his utensils.” (whatever that means).
Then he moves on to my work. In one translation, he says, “His project is actually common” (ick). Another calls it simple (better). I prefer to think he means simple in the honest sense of the word. He talks about how it is not an unknown lifestyle, but perhaps one that doesn’t get much notice. He refers to Steinbecks Travels with Charley to describe how Americans have always traveled around their country – often out of necessity – as a loving testimony to this group of people. Then he likens my project to the book. Wow! Well, perhaps more to the sentiment of the book anyway. But his point is, I think, that my approach was never to exploit. That my style was not to “find an abomination or paradise lost…”, but to simply describe a sub culture not previously well known.
It is an interesting process trying to get to the correct meaning of his words, but from what I was able to understand, I believe he did get to the heart of the matter and I appreciate his effort to bring it to his readers.