April 7, 2010

Why I love going to a Tea Party.

I'm not the political type. I write about politics, but in an idiosyncratic way. I wouldn't go to a political rally to personally rally, but to see what it looks and feels like. And to take some photographs.

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And what I learned...

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... is that the social convention at a thing like this....

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... is that people are there to be seen....

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... so you can go right up to them, point a camera, and shoot.

As a photographer, I love that.

If you wonder why I take so many pictures of buildings and flowers and trees, it's because in normal life, you can't just point a camera at somebody. It's not the norm.

At the rally, I was — finally — free.

38 comments:

chuck b. said...

Peopleless pictures appeal to introverts, and people-filled pictures appeal to extroverts. I like to use pictures where the people in them are far away or facing away from the camera, so as to be unrecognizable. People-pictures get boring to look at after awhile, I think. There are people on Flickr whose entire streams are filled with hundreds, thousands of pictures of nothing but people. But then I'm somewhat introverted. Otoh, extensively peopleless pictures feel kind of lonesome.

Meade said...

Hey garage mahal, if that's you in the top photo, you are one handsome dude!

Kansas City said...

I have never heard about a linkage between introverts and people less pictures or extroverts and people filled pictures. I don't think I agree. Introverts generally prefer not interacting with people. That is not the same as photographing or looking at photographs of people. I might agree that introverts don't like looking at photographs of strangers unless there is something of interest about the people or their situation, but that may well also be true about extroverts.

As to Ann's photos, since they are strangers and they are not doing anything particularly interesting, I did not enjoy them much and would be more interested in Ann's assessment of the people in the crowd.

rhhardin said...

You can photograph dogs..

mesquito said...

I'm as schizoid as they come, but I prefer pics w/peeps.

Ann Althouse said...

To me, it's just very exciting to be able to photograph people.

I'm thinking of going to more things like this, just for the sheer photo-oppishness of it.

Michael said...

I like the way the people appear not to pose, to be arrested in time. Their normal-ness clearly offends more progressive observers but they hated Eggleston at first too. Really hated the fact that he shot in color and that his subjects were so normal. Since he was himself such a poseur and asshole they thought he was being ironic which at first he was not.

garage mahal said...

Meade
Nope! More grey hair, and more lbs.

The people at the rally I met were all nice - more than eager to be photographed - at one point I even felt a little bit guilty as a woman was helping with her signs being photographed by me. It was sort of strange being the interloper, of sorts, most people there looking at me would think I'm a genuine tea partier.

ark said...

What she said!

Pogo said...

Fascinating slice of humanity.

I'm as avoidant as they come, yet I love to be among people. Like Chauncey Gardner, 'I like to watch'.

The Tea Party looks like real folks.

Irene said...

Meade said, "if that's you in the top photo, you are one handsome dude."

The top photo, and Meade's comment, reminded me of a comment someone left on the Bascom Hill-snow-day-snowball-fight thread: something like, "well, hello there college boy."

It brings out the Mrs. Robinson in me.

chuck b. said...

"I have never heard about a linkage between introverts and people less pictures or extroverts and people filled pictures."

That's because I made it up. It's my theory.

Rick Lee said...

I visited Costa Rica in 1984... the people there were amazingly friendly and when you took their picture they just smiled and said "thank you"... really. I wonder if it's still like that in Costa Rica.

Synova said...

There are posters up for an April 15th Tea Party here and I was thinking that I ought to go for exactly that reason... to be seen.

I never go to anything *ever*. So if I did go it would be the first time I'd ever attended any sort of political rally.

paul a'barge said...

Come on.

Althouse just likes opportunities to take pictures of hot young guys with short hair who wear leather jackets.

Hey. Who doesn't. At least she saves the last dance for Meade.

edutcher said...

I would disagree that you aren't that political; you did a certain amount of proselytizing during the campaign when you made your decision about The Zero and McCain. You knew people would be affected by what you wrote. Your blog became your rally, in other words.

If you didn't want that, you could have written about something else. You could have written, like, a totally fashion blog.

Ann Althouse said...

To me, it's just very exciting to be able to photograph people.

Because that's where the dynamism in politics and society is today.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Very nice.

I've never been to any kind of protest, but I'm planning to go to the local one on the 15th, in the same "reporter" capacity. I figure I'll feel more comfortable like that, since I simply can't imagine myself waving a sign around.

I also plan to deliberately seek out bad behavior. Wonder if I'll find some?

bagoh20 said...

Garage said: "...most people there looking at me would think I'm a genuine tea partier."


Because you are - you just have not submitted yet. We are very patient while the implant does it's work. Thought that was a mosquito bite, huh?

I backspaced my "teabagger" retort.
It was better, but those happy faces make me so cordial.

Penny said...

"Why I love going to a Tea Party."

Because you can take pictures? Hey. Well that's cool, because we LOVE looking at your pics. Seems like more and more people are going to the Tea Party too. So that kind of plays into why you are there in the first place. Can we expect you back at Madison's next Tea Party?

LonewackoDotCom said...

Since Althouse doesn't do politics except from an "idiosyncratic" POV, let me fill in the gap: here's an example of how the Tea Partiers are useful idiots (Althouse mentioned briefly!)

The people at these rallies are the same types who - after Bush allowed 14% of all the workers in MX to move to the U.S. - said nothing. Imagine that: 1 out of 7 workers from one country moved to another, and those people said nothing.

Those at the rallies are the same types who - after Bush lied us into war and then implemented it in a largely incompetent fashion - said nothing.

Those at the rallies are the same types who - after Bush allowed the FDIC to work with a foreign government to give mortgages to illegalaliens - said nothing.

Those at the rallies are the same types who - after Bush moved U.S. citizens out of N.O. so illegalaliens could take rebuilding jobs from them - said nothing.

Those at the rallies are the same types who wave signs ("spread my work ethic") in effect accusing the millions of those who are unlucky enough to share citizenship with them and who are unemployed of being lazy bums.

In light of what they've done - and what they haven't done - their claim to be "patriots" is highly questionable, even if they like to play dress up games and play at it.

They're just useful idiots for those with another agenda, and they have absolutely no clue what's going on.

See my extensive coverage of the tea parties for all the details.

Synova said...

Lonewacko... I understand your frustration but I think that almost everything you ever suggest is counter-productive. Actively bad ideas for getting anything constructive done. But I wouldn't tell you to do anything different.

Even people who agree on goals don't agree on how to get there.

What people should do is whatever *they* feel moved to do. Some will be ineffective. Some will be counter-effective. In aggregate, though, progress will be made.

If other people don't share your priorities, well, maybe they're entitled to their own.

Ralph L said...

To me, it's just very exciting to be able to photograph people
Thirty years ago, the college photographer turned one of my classes into a photo-op. The prof had taken us outside (probably for him to get the casual shots they like for school catalogs). For some reason, I found it upsetting and practically yelled at him to stop shooting me.

If anything, I was even more un-photogenic with hair than I am now without, so I still can't figure out why he was aiming at me. It didn't occur to me until today that the prof had set us up.

Synova said...

Ralph, that just sounds like bad manners.

Not you... the photographer.

It reminds me of a church greeter who hugged everyone instead of shaking hands. I went to extreme lengths to avoid it without having to tell the well-meaning fellow that if he touched me again I'd hurt him. And he just didn't notice. It was actually sort of amazing. How hard can it be to tell that someone doesn't *want* a hug as she's trying to dart around you with her arms full?

How hard can it be, really, to notice that the person you're pointing your camera at isn't open to the camera?

bagoh20 said...

Lonewacko,
Speaking of useful idiots, I'm sure the current power structure appreciates your support, regardless of what you think you are doing.

I could be entirely wrong, but you have managed through your advertising here to convince me to never click your links to find out. What you write here is naive, and unhinged. I've already read enough of that over the last 8 years from others. For instance most of your complaints about the Tea Party are just plain wrong. They have been complaining and fighting congress on most of those things all along and were flooding phone banks about it. The problem is the people you are running interference for refused to listen, but they will be now, because of the Tea Party and no one else. You APPARENTLY don't know what you are talking about. Even your 20/400 hindsight is unimpressive. Of course, I could be totally wrong about you, but I'll never find out. Being an ass has it consequences for a businessman.

Beth said...

That third one is my favorite. Disapproving tea partiers disapprove.

Penny said...

Lol, Beth. "Three's a crowd", or so it's been said for a mighty long time.

paul a'barge said...

Meanwhile, LoneWackoDotCom's fly is unzipped and based on that strange gap-toothed smile on his face, I'd guess that he knows it.

Hoosier Daddy said...

The people at the rally I met were all nice...

Really? Glad to see you were able to see it first hand and are honest abnout it since the MSM paints then as nothing more than angry, white racists who are a fuse short of staging violent revolution.

master cylinder said...

You need grandkids- you could have tea parties all the time, and they would let you take their picture.

Scott Gentzen said...

Most of my pictures when I'm in "photographer" mode don't have people in them. And the ones that I do have with people don't get posted online.

Paul Zrimsek said...

That third one is my favorite.

Childish distancing! Caught you!

Matt said...

I've been to numerous liberal / left protests and taken photos too. I can also attest to the fact that the protesters I have been around are friendly, open and good people. But the MSM and the opposition often paint protesters [no matter for what cause] as loony and crazy. I'm sure most Tea Party protesters are good people. Misinformed a bit, but good people.

TMink said...

My last rally before my first tea party was marching with the communists.

Really!

5 communist guys had been shot in Greensboro by skin heads and I joined the march against the murders. I am not big on commies, but I really hate skin heads. And the Illinois Nazi Party for that matter.

Trey

TMink said...

"Those at the rallies are the same types who - after Bush lied us into war and then implemented it in a largely incompetent fashion - said nothing."

More lies.

At least his name is accurate!

Trey

$9,000,000,000 Write Off said...

I just wonder why you take so many pictures.

William said...

The third picture down has a kind of Diane Arbus vibe. The deep frown of the woman is more a response to a chill, wet day than an expression of any inner emotional state. It's not so difficult to take an unflattering picture, and present it as the truth. One picture can tell a thousand lies.

PWS said...

Althouse-I really do recommend going to more of these if they can. No better place than a Tea Party Rally to confront our nation's obesity epidemic double chin (yours) to double chin (theirs)!

Also-I love how its all white people! I miss the days when America was all white people. "I want my country back" they say. They also want the KFC Double Down.

Jeeves said...

how did you handle the model release forms on the photos?