Business and travel have shrunk the world. Our customers sometimes want images that represent local and regional lifestyles and symbols. How can you best illustrate the character of the country in which you live without using flags or depicting landmarks? The assignment beginning in mid October will request images that best characterize your country. To give you a head’s up, here’s a head start.
The images can represent a feeling, food or people dressed in national costumes. One rule you will need to follow: nothing terribly generic like a macro of blades of grass for Ireland.
To illustrate: What America means to me is the vast diversity of our population.
We are a country with a huge variety in lifestyles, beliefs and even dining experiences due to our history of supporting immigration. (However, looks like photographers outside the US have shot most of Dreamstime’s photos showing ethnic diversity. Hummmm)
Secondly, America is based on capitalism. Somehow in today’s world that means for many in the United States that they have no worth unless they shop. Shopping has become a hobby, a family outing, and a leisure activity. Many people seem to define themselves only by their stuff.
Rick Ridgeway, an author and photographer now Vice President of Communications and Environmental Initiatives at outdoor company, Patagonia, tells the story of needing more porters to carry the expedition’s stuff and stopping in an extremely remote village. After negotiating with the chieftain for the hiring of one of his villagers as a porter, Rick instructed the chief via a translator to tell the young guy who was standing beside him dressed in a loin cloth and holding nothing to go get all his ‘stuff as the expedition would be gone for weeks.’ The chief said, “But that is all his stuff.” Read about Ridgeway here.
Several years ago photographer, Peter Menzel, did a book about the stuff that different people in different societies require. Although a bit outdated now since the electronic explosion has added even more layers of necessary stuff to many lives, it’s still illustrates my point.
America is about shopping and due to our diversity of cultures, there is lots of different stuff to buy. Look at my house: I have a Tajine cooker from Morocco, things to make kabobs and tacos. Spaghetti is a stable. We have tea from Japan and China. Coffee from South America and, and lucky me, clothes in the closet from France and Italy all purchased in the US. I’d better go. Need to go shopping before the dollar falls any further.