Friday, May 27, 2016

Different Points of View

I found this scene in Morocco. There is an older gentleman sitting, a younger man slouching, and a cat. Some might surmise that the older man is a wise man – maybe imparting some wisdom to the younger. (He does have his mouth open) And, he is sitting in the doorway of a shop in the Fez Medina. Possibly a man of substance. Maybe the owner of the shop. But - might the fact that he is talking be a clue pointing otherwise? True, the young man is listening. But his slouch tends to make you think he is not all that interested in what the older guy is saying. That is not, “rapt attention” showing on the young guy’s face. So maybe HE is the wise one – the older guy might be talking some old person’s gibberish, or giving him the grocery list for his trip home. Can’t be sure. It does look as though the young man is obligated to listen to the older guy. Certainly, if we were to determine relative power between the two, the seated gentleman wins from body language alone. Youngster doesn’t look like he has a stake in the business, and he is an even less secure character in the scene than is the cat.

So, let’s discuss the cat!  He shares the seated guy’s naturalness in the scene. But, can we guess anything else about the cat? He is obviously not listening to the old guy. He could care less. However, he is hanging in pretty close. He is also comfortable with the slouchy young guy. So that probably says something about the relationship between the young guy and the old guy – not a casual relationship, or a one-off. The cat is familiar, not just with Mr. Fez, he is familiar with slouchy, too. In the Medina, you would never see this scene with a dog in it. Cats are favored. Or, at the minimum, tolerated. But this kitty here is  especially favored. Might be used to some caressing from the old guy. Or more likely, food - like when times are a little slower. Granted, they look a little slow at 11:28 in the morning. I propose the cat may be the wise one in this scene. First; he is a cat. Second; he is humble. No ego here! Look at him, he is not trying to press his wisdom on anybody. If the snacks don’t come out pretty quick, he will wander down to the butcher shop. I am not saying that cats aren’t narcissistic, they are, but they are so comfortable in their narcissism that they don’t feel any need to prove their value to anyone. They are not neurotic. (Like most of us monkeys) Of course there are some cats that exhibit symptoms of neurosis. But clearly the cat in the photo is not one of them. This is one self-assured cat.

There may be more to say about the scene, or, there may be a totally different story here. Looking for wisdom is only one way to look at it. I alluded to the power relationships in it – that is another way to analyse the photo. Of course, I consider myself a photographer, so the photo can be viewed as a work of art – composition, etc. But there is a story indicated in the photo. I suppose it could even be looked at as a comment on the melding of cultures – west and east. The young man with his western dress, the older man in his traditional dress, the crates of Coca Cola in the background and the cat bridging the two.

Fez Medina - Morocco  2015

Chefchaouen - Morocco   2016

Photo of Dale

Posting a photo of Dale may seem odd in a collection called "Different Points of View," that started out in Morocco. But Dale is a longtime nomad and has experienced much of the world. He fits in wherever you find him, and that is apt to be anywhere.

Dale - Seattle    July 2016

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