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Gary_Yngve

Corey Rich's site

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stumbled across it today while doing a google for "bouldering photos"

 

http://www.coreyography.com/

 

He has some impressive shots.

Check out his rock gallery and India gallery.

 

Some of his shots (e.g. the Lake Powell one) have a weird look... is that from a polarizer on the fisheye?

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His Kasha Rigby shot has spawned pages and pages of gender debate on other forums!

 

One thing I have noted about his photos in the past is his justoposition of white adventurers next to dark 'natives'. For example the following pix:

 

india_09.jpg

and

indonesia_02.jpg

 

Perhaps I'm being overly PC but in a way I find these photos mildly offensive. Sure it's all in good fun as to say "these worthy european adventurers battled the jungle and communed with these natives" but having grown up in India I can say with certainty that the last thing a Hindu mystic wants is to pose in a catalog shot with some white guy bouldering. It's no different that those pics we used to see of the 1950's family posing with the Cherokee chiefs in full ceremony regalia.

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I'm sure you are right, but he does it for the money.

Yup. Adds a sense of exotic place to otherwise run o' the mill outdoor shots.

 

and it's likely a polarizer + PS gary

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His Kasha Rigby shot has spawned pages and pages of gender debate on other forums!

 

Why? And was there similar debate over the dude with the bike helmet?

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Why? And was there similar debate over the dude with the bike helmet?

 

You know as well as I do that anytime a woman athlete poses nude (or near nude) controversy ensues. Whether you believe that nude photography empowers or belittles women doesn't really matter as there will be dozens willing to argue against you.

 

Regarding the comment about National Geographic publishing such pictures -- NG stopped publishing pix that depicted the civilized white vs non civilized non-white years ago. Unlike the legendary Fiji articles they used to publish when I was a child (the ones my mother would hide) today NG staff goes out of their way to show respect to other cultures. Corey Rich takes great photos -- but many of those depicted in his portfolio would spark controversy if, for example, the Java native was replaced with a Native American. Perhaps I'm misreading his photographs (or reading to much into them)... but when a pic like the snowboard pic is on the cover of Couloir I ask myself what the editors were trying to convey.

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Regarding the comment about National Geographic publishing such pictures -- NG stopped publishing pix that depicted the civilized white vs non civilized non-white years ago. Unlike the legendary Fiji articles they used to publish when I was a child (the ones my mother would hide) today NG staff goes out of their way to show respect to other cultures. Corey Rich takes great photos -- but many of those depicted in his portfolio would spark controversy if, for example, the Java native was replaced with a Native American. Perhaps I'm misreading his photographs (or reading to much into them)... but when a pic like the snowboard pic is on the cover of Couloir I ask myself what the editors were trying to convey.

National Geographic Adventure publishes plenty of his shots - just the ones with boats, skis and jeeps as props - not brown people. The editors were trying to convey a sense of exotic place and people are part of what make a place exotic. I'd rather have them included, if only as props, than completely excluded - which is more a return to the past, when natives were only background not worthy of any notice. I suppose excluding the natives does fit well with todays jet set adventure - fly in, travel ASAP to basecamp, then flee back to Boulder as quick as possible. The world as jungle gym.

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and people are part of what make a place exotic. I'd rather have them included, if only as props, than completely excluded - which is more a return to the past, when natives were only background not worthy of any notice. I suppose excluding the natives does fit well with todays jet set adventure - fly in, travel ASAP to basecamp, then flee back to Boulder as quick as possible. The world as jungle gym.

 

True.. it does make it more exotic. However - people as props is exactly what I'm talking about and it is a return to the past. A man in full native garb sitting around with a bunch of climbers is no different than John Ford's depiction of the drunk chiefs in his classic westerns or Kipling's depiction of Indian culture. People are not props -- and depicting people as props is derogatory. A culturally sensitive portrayal of people and customs is a bonus to any slideshow or book you read about adventures... however the key word is sensitive.

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people as props is exactly what I'm talking about and it is a return to the past. A man in full native garb sitting around with a bunch of climbers is no different than John Ford's depiction of the drunk chiefs in his classic westerns or Kipling's depiction of Indian culture. People are not props -- and depicting people as props is derogatory. A culturally sensitive portrayal of people and customs is a bonus to any slideshow or book you read about adventures... however the key word is sensitive.

thumbs_up.gif

This is a good statement. I wish it were applied to women and how they are all too often portrayed in magazines and media. You are right that depicting people as props is derogatory, and I would say that should extend to all people.

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True.. it does make it more exotic. However - people as props is exactly what I'm talking about and it is a return to the past. A man in full native garb sitting around with a bunch of climbers is no different than John Ford's depiction of the drunk chiefs in his classic westerns or Kipling's depiction of Indian culture. People are not props -- and depicting people as props is derogatory. A culturally sensitive portrayal of people and customs is a bonus to any slideshow or book you read about adventures... however the key word is sensitive.

 

Oh very true, and I agree with you.

 

I guess I was (unsuccessfully) trying to argue that most everything in adventure/actionsports/travel photography is a prop now. The emphasis is on active, attractive, young white people being "adventurous" and the rest is background. To me it's best exemplified by the trend towards bouldering "adventure" photography - the shots of sharma and brown at Hampi aren't much different in objectificatioin than sharma at the Buttermilks or sharma at Castle Hill or sharma at Fountainebleau. The backdrops are (non white) people or exotic mountains and there is no connection between subject and background. All to deleterious effect on humanity IMHO. It's all beginning to look like the sports illustrated swimsuit issue - you could just photoshop someone into a landscape.

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most everything in adventure/actionsports/travel photography is a prop now. The emphasis is on active, attractive, young white people being "adventurous" and the rest is background.

 

That's the truth! It's the same with film... be it trustafarians sending boulder problems or snowboarders catching air. After a while everyone starts looking like that cute young couple on the cover of the REI catalog:

 

1225_snowshoe_a.jpg

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cj, you make some excellent points! Very succinct! I especially like the obsevation of subject and background having no connection. thumbs_up.gif

 

BTW, Happy Birthday! rockband.gif

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Yeah, good post, Carl, but I wonder if there really is no connection between (white) subject and (dark-skinned) native props in the background. It seems to me that the sadhu watching dude send the boulder problem serves to lend the white adventurer some kind of authenticity...even though the white guy is set apart because he's got resources far beyond what the natives could imagine, he still wants to be down with the locals. Post-colonial slumming!

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Give Sharma some credit - he got the climbing industry to subsidize a trip to a destination off the beaten path, in which his objective was more than just to climb. Yeah, maybe the photos aren't what you and I (and, probably, he) would like them to be, but they're more interesting than another spread from the Buttermilks.

 

It's not clear to me whether you think "post-colonial slumming" is a healthy thing or not, but I don't see how it can hurt. It's like white suburban hip-hop kids - they may have a very limited sense of the culture behind the music, and the exposure they get from the music may be distorted, but it's better than no exposure at all.

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I don't think slumming is a healthy way to develop real relationships or transmit knowledge and ideas across cultural boundaries. It's predicated on an imbalance of wealth and power...the white adventurer can leave at any time, while the native is stuck in his ghetto. It gives the one with power deluded ideas about himself, and breeds resentment in the coolie.

 

I don't really have any contextual information about Sharma or any of these other guys, so I'm just going on the way these pictures are posed (and they do seem really carefully posed, most of them). Sharma might be a cool guy; I have no idea and don't really care.

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Well, let's assume for a moment that a potential traveler doesn't have access to a healthier model of transmitting knowledge and ideas across cultural boundaries than slumming. Would you rather she stay home?

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Well, let's assume for a moment that a potential traveler doesn't have access to a healthier model of transmitting knowledge and ideas across cultural boundaries than slumming. Would you rather she stay home?

Yes. If you aren't there to learn something about another place, and via that hopefully yourself, stay the fuck home - or realize that you are just another tourbot on a cruise. And no I don't think it's worthy of anything that he got someone to pay for a junket - and I don't think the pictures are much different from a spread in the US bouldering destination du jour because they include some brown people.

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I think most people who travel learn something about other places, and about themselves, whether they set out to or not. Even prototypical Ugly Americans.

 

Hampi, a junket? Have you been there?

Edited by flyingkiwi1

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Well, let's assume for a moment that a potential traveler doesn't have access to a healthier model of transmitting knowledge and ideas across cultural boundaries than slumming. Would you rather she stay home?

 

Here's a better analogy: Joe Middleclass and his pals wants a cultural experience so he grabs his crash pad and drives daddy's 2005 Pathfinder down to the projects. He then proceeds to rip it up on manky apartment buildings while his buddies document the adventure while making sure that every frame features at least one barefoot African American kid or teenage mother. They then give high fives all around, jump back in the Pathfinder and return to the suburbs with a story to share with all. How is this 'transmitting knowledge and ideas across cultural boundaries'?

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