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Unreasonable passion, irrational exuberance

Things you wish you hadn't seen

Daniel Yudkin

Sometimes roaming the streets of Paris you see something that seems so ridiculous you figure it must be masking a deeper more important purpose. Take this photograph, for example, that I was able to quickly snap with my cell phone camera when I was in the park the other day.



What does this scene look like to you?  A harmless group of six or seven tourists enjoying the warm weather after an engaging morning ogling the Mona Lisa at the Louvre?  Perhaps.  But there's something more here that I want to draw your attention to.

This isn't just any stroll in the park.  These people must have an alternative agenda: they must be part of an art project exploring the metaphyscial and ontological ramifications of taking pictures of people taking pictures of people taking pictures.  It's the only possible explanation.

Now, cameras are circled in red.  I first want to draw your attention, if I may, to the center two circles.  These guys are doing OK--they're taking a picture of their friend sitting down.  A little redundant, we could say, doubling up on the same shot, but all in all nothing too out of the ordinary.  If we add in the fact that the guy on the left sitting down is holding is own camera, it gets a little weirder.

But finally, look at the women on the right.  They have their own cameras, too.  They've just finished taking pictures not of sitting guy but of their husbands taking pictures.  It's brilliant!  When you are taking a picture, you expose your soul to the world in unique way. You are braced; inquisitive; focused on getting the frame and aperture exactly right.  What better time to capture the moment?


I feel deeply privileged to have been allowed into the metaphysical love-fest by snapping the entire scene with a camera of my own.  It's exciting!  I've started carrying two cameras around so that each time I take a picture I can reach out with the other hand and snap a shot of myself taking the picture.  I'm planning on submitting the series to a New York gallery, entitling it Colors and Memories: Intrapersonal Investigations into the Profound and Mercurial Nature of Auto-Photography.