Why photograph, interact, or talk with strangers?
Obviously street photography is about photographing strangers. You cannot photograph street photography without strangers.
But where does this notion of ‘stranger’ come from?
The stranger as strange?
Stranger comes from ‘extraneous‘ (outside of ourselves).
Thus the stranger is someone who is simply outside of ourselves. Everyone who isn’t us is a stranger.
The ancient Greeks followed a rule:
Treat foreigners (xeno) with respect. If a traveler comes to your home, you feed him, clothe him, give him a gift (and some money), and send them on their way.
Even in Ancient Greek times — there was mutual respect for foreigners (assuming they were courageous).
Xenophilia: the love of the other, the foreign, the alien.
Xeno means ‘alien’. Alien — you don’t know what it is.
Xenophobia means “fear of the alien/unknown”. But my thought is this:
If you turn the alien (foreign) into the familiar — there will be less fear!
Interacting with others to become less fearful of the foreign, strange, and alien.
I am very grateful for my opportunity to go to Gulf Photo Plus in Dubai (thank you to Mo and Hala). Also very grateful to Loryne Atoui for bringing me to Beirut, Lebanon (2011). Why? For an American, the middle-east is seen as “scary” and “dangerous”. But the problem with Americans is this. It isn’t that we are hateful or evil people. It is that when we are ignorant of the foreign/alien cultures, we are afraid. Much ‘hatred’ is simply fear.
But when I first went to Lebanon and Dubai and met all these folks from all around the middle-east (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, etc), I realized:
We are much more similar than dissimilar.
Interacting with others as a way to extend your love, kindness, generosity, and humanistic good-will to others.
A tip– when interacting with others who I don’t know about their culture, beliefs, religion, etc, I will often ask them:
What is the common misconceptions about [x]?
For example when I meet Muslims (I know very little about Islam), I will ask them:
What common misconceptions do others have about Islam?
It is the quickest way to learn about foreign and alien cultures.
Is world peace the goal?
Many people strive towards world peace. Is this the goal of humanity?
If world peace is the goal, then interacting with others is the first step towards becoming less fearful of the foreign/alien. With less fear, there is less hate (strong emotions) towards others.
We don’t cause pain upon others, if we don’t want others to cause pain upon us.
In other words, if you don’t like it when others are an asshole to you, don’t be an asshole to others. This is the ‘silver rule’ of ethics.
What my dream is.
My personal dream:
Everyone can get from reality whatever they desire.
I want to help enable as many people to achieve their dreams as possible. I think this is my dream.
This is why I am so passionate about entrepreneurship; I want to help ENABLE others to pursue and achieve their dreams! To SEIZE your dreams!