Multiple Levels of Fabrication

Exotic Coca Cola, Animal Kingdom - Orlando, Florida

Exotic Coca Cola, Animal Kingdom – Orlando, Florida

This is a fake Coca Cola sign artificially aged to make it look old and faded. The exotic location, perhaps some place in South Asia, is also made up, complete with a rustic wall and an old bike. With this backdrop, I thought it appropriate to add another layer of fabrication. This is a digital picture manipulated and overlaid with a film effect to simulate Fuji Provia 400. Welcome to the world of 2017, where we engineer experiences and nostalgia. Parts of the “first world” are so clean and modern that we have manufacture character into our landscapes, and pay big bucks for the experience.

I shot this photo in Disney’s Animal Kingdom a few weeks ago with a modern Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera. The slight snarkiness is my attempt at humor. To truly enjoy the Disney experience is to suspend belief in the real world — you need to accept the handiwork of the Disney Imagineers. And out of the four parks in Orlando, Animal Kingdom has the most exotic details and richness that simulates a “real” world. Photographically, I really enjoyed the Asia and Africa sections.

I enjoyed the rides and shows, of course. But my main entertainment is photography and my main challenge, to make images that don’t look like they were taken at a theme park. The crowds made this especially daunting. I frequently rejected views that would look perfect, if it weren’t for the tourists in T-shirts and shorts. I’ll show more of my attempts, in future posts.

I thought twice about adding this to my Travelgram collection. After all, it’s not a photo of a real place in Asia. But in retrospect, I decided, it is a real photograph created during my travels. And, I would argue that it’s actually more challenging to see and shoot these kinds of images at Disney, than in the actual country. Why? When you go to foreign places, you are surrounded by these details. At Disney, you really have to search.

If you take a real photograph of a fake place, does that make the place real?

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