Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chigau? or are they not Chigauing?...

     One of the interesting things I noticed when I saw these two films was that when I started the second film, the first thing that struck me was how different the films were. I was mesmerized as to why we would compared these two  photographers. Funny enough, as the movie went on the feeling kept on changing and changing. The fact that the two photographers decide to take incredibly different paths, doesn't divert them from the challenge that emerges out of reactions, out of their subject, and out of their personal life.
     Both of them are used to opposite settings in their fieldwork, but both of them challenge morality of the human standard. Why? Where as Leibovitz challenges exposure to the human body, Natchwey challenges exposure to human cruelty. Furthermore, in both films both photographers also utilize in a certain level what the other does as well. That is to say that Leibovitz also had experience in the war and human cruelty area, while Natchwey also exposes parts of the human body. The difference is that the main theme the photographers portray is not the same.
Leibovitz's Moral Challenge
     Subjects are also very important to the picture, since they are the main focus in both of their pictures. Leibovitz's fame brought many famous people into her doorway, and because she kept emerging out of a topic area and moving on to the next, she always had to adapt to her new environment. Following the fact that she herself says the troubles of change she had in her career, one would assume that the subjects and agency also had to adapt to her standards (especially since many people opposed her radical photography). On the other hand, Natchwey has even a harder time I believed. He takes pictures of people during their saddest or hardest moments. He confesses that if the subjects do not comply with his pictures, then the picture loses their meaning. The pictures of the weeping women, the Malaysian guy without a leg or an arm, and the Middle-eastern soldiers, show just how much of their feelings can be obtained from the pictures.
    Lastly, both of these photographers also probably found problems within their personal lives. While Leibovitz's life received so much criticism, her family was very important to her. Her daughter shows in the film just how much she loved taking her family portrair; she really liked having all of her family making poses. It must have been hard for her to receive criticism that surely affected her family as well. In Natchwey's life, I think that the most obvious problem he might have had was keeping his life. During the time that he pleaded for the person's life, he could have lost his life; during the time that he was taking pictures in the grenade throwing, he could have lost his life. Having the thought that one might die at any moment, is probably very difficult to process at times.
Natchwey's Human Cruelty Challenge
   In the end both photographers face very similar challenges in diverse situations. Even if they both have many difference the similarities are as abundant.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What makes a Japanese.... Japanese?

Grabbing his Hoodie?
      How would you define someone who's Japanese? By the Japanese government's definition, through birthplace, or because of their blood? It's interesting to see how each country has a way to define what it means to be from that country. In the U.S. it's by birthright and in Japan it's by blood-right?  But who's to say one is right and one is wrong? It's like asking me whether I'm Venezuelan or American. I lived in Venezuela for a little over half my life, both of my parents are Venezuelan, and all of my family members (related by blood) that are alive today have spent most of their life in Venezuela. At the same time, the most important part of my academic life wasn't in Venezuela.  The amount of friends I have in Venezuela are nothing compared to the number I have in the U.S. (including the fact that my best friend is in the U.S.), and my closest relatives live in the U.S. I also posses two passports, one from the U.S. and one from Venezuela. Does this prove anything? Did I tell you that my customs are a mix from both side?
Happy Minesuke
     Just as a question my be risen to who and what I am, I believe many people in Japan are even more confused about they identity than I am. Why is this? My friend has told me that he's not Japanese but rather Korean and he's not Korean but rather Japanese. According to the Japanese government, this term would be called a Zainichi. Both of his parents are Korean, but he lived a Japanese life. His passport is Korean, but he doesn't speak Korean fluently. By the way want to know his name? He has three, Minesuke, Wungmo, and Yumo. When he speaks to Japanese people he uses his Japanese name (Minesuke), but when he speaks to foreigners he uses his Korean name (Wungmo). Why is Yumo in there? Because when Japanese try to pronounce his name they have problems pronouncing it so they call him Yumo (I call him Yumo, because it sounds cool lol). You might wonder if this matters, and the truth is that it does; and I'm not talking about only the spiritual, honorable, or abstract sense. His passport has his name as Ku Wungo, but in Japan he's known as Minesuke (formally in papers as well). This is a problem, because when he travels he has a different name. Yumo's friends are for the most part Japanese, and speak in Japanese with him. Knowing Japan as his birthplace and living in Japan during his lifetime, does it mean he's Japanese? Or does having a Korean passport with Korean parents make him Korean?
Sad Wungmo
    Other than that, what are his experiences? Are they sad? Because he has no place to call his real country? Are they happy, because he's had a lot of support? He's told me both about some of his good or bad experience. Those are more personal so I can't talk about that in the blog, but the answer that I can give is that he has. Any human being has good and bad experiences. Whether they are sad or happy. 
    Lastly, his personality can also be influenced by the culture he lives under. Does he follow Japanese standards when he goes through every day life? Well, I believe so. I'm not Japanese, so I can't say exactly what a Japanese person is, but if I were to compare him with other Japanese friends I have I would say that he's similar. Just like any other person he has differences. A lot of people have told me before that they're surprised by the type of person he is when they first meet him. He gives a different air to what most people think at first impression, and did this happen to me? Yes it did. I was surprised to know that he's a very studious person. I just became close friends with him this semester, but I had seen him last semester. I never imagined him to be a person who would study. He's also a very good friend to everyone who he considers a friend. He helps people a lot, and even gets angry for them when they don't. His friend are always there for him as well. He has tendencies that appear to me as being very Japanese, and his Japanese friends will agree with this as well. He likes to help me a lot with my Japanese, and I will help him with his English as well. Anyway, If you see him say hi (or Konnichiwa)!! He's a pretty cool person. Help him with his English (which is already very good), and talk to him like you would to any other person. No, he's not scary (like in the picture),
Angry Yumo
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