Monday, March 09, 2015

Cross Culture experience is similar to a night at the Opera

Fuji X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/10, 1/20
This is a photo of my wife Dorie with 1991 graduate of The Citadel, and opera stand out, Morris Robinson. We were able to go backstage after seeing Rigoletto due to invitation by Morris and meet some of the cast.

Fuji X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/10, 1/25
Here Dorie is with Todd Thomas who played the lead role of Rigoletto.

The opera Rigoletto was sung entirely in Italian with subtitles in English above the stage. I quickly realized that the opera was so similar to my overseas coverages when I am working in a language that I do not speak.

The first few minutes is difficult because I am not quite getting the story due to the translation taking a while.

You find yourself relying more and more on the acting and the music to help bring you into the mood of the moment. I find I am also relying heavily on the body language and visual cues when I am shooting overseas.

When people look at my photos the photos don't have audio or text for the most part. If the opera was relying heavily on the words to tell the story I was more or less not getting it very well. Hard to read subtitles and pay attention to the acting at the same time.

This helped to remind me of who words and pictures do need each other. Many times the visuals will do a much better job telling the story and other times the words must carry the heavily load of the storytelling.

Neither one alone did a great job without the other.

I recommend going to an opera for visual storytellers, especially if you don't know the language. You will be forced to see how much visuals can do and also see the limits and how important words are as well to the complete package.

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