Tourist Observations

video transcriptions

French couple in Prague

The shot is somewhat close on the base of a statue on the Charles Bridge. The frame jumps around making a blurry image of the dark and light shadows on the stone. An older Frenchman looks away and says says “je prefer le photo”. I hear my own voice “por une minute”. The shaking slows down as the shot concentrates on the cobblestones of the bridge, and then the cement blocks of the statue’s base. “Ici le zoom” says my voice, and “en record maintenant” all with a bad American accent. The scene lifts up to the puffy white clouds of a perfect summer day then lowers to a vista upriver of another bridge and the boats littering the seascape through its arches. The image shakes a bit here and pans left, showing a domed building along the river bank then smooths out and pans back right, past that bridge, across the flowing water, to the other side where the trees of the ground of the Kampa Museum hang down almost touching the river.  Faster this time the pan moves back along the silver water to the stone blocks of the Charles low wall and continues on to the tourists on the bridge. For a moment there is a zoom in on the checkered shirt of a woman slowly walking closer in, then the zoom back out and a shift slightly to the right, centering on the Frenchman in his white vest and bright blue back pack against the gothic bridge-gate in the background, facing the feet of the statue to the right of him. He holds a pad of paper in his hands as well as a dog’s leash. His head is down as he tells a black labrador to sit. The image zooms in over his head to the spired gate tower, to the right of which are two copper green roofs, one domed and closer, the other in the distance, a green pyramid topped by a gold ball. His bald pate is in the bottom of the frame and the view tilts down to his face as it turns forward. Passing tourists in short sleeves and vests fill the right side of the picture. The shot tilts down and zooms all at once past him, whizzing past venders set up along the opposite side of the bridge, past a close shot of hand drawings, wooden icons, past a row of red tiled roofs, the backs of heads move in and out of the bottom of the frame from left to right, against the backdrop of buildings, windows of various styles and eras. The shot zooms all the way out revealing a large complicated statue of saints and martyrs, darkened by age, the buildings now small in the distance behind on the right while more bridges cross the  river on the left. Slowly, the view moves left, centering those bridges and a family all in beige and brown ambles into the left side of the frame crossing to the right. More tourists pass in the same direction and the scene moves a bit further to the left showing the red roofs of this side of the river bank. A mound of curly red hair quickly passes close by from right to left and for a moment this sets the pace for the camera and becomes the main focus, the red-headed star of the video for a second and then she’s gone. Lowering the scene a bit presents a landscape of this end of the bridge, more vendors line the sides, another statue at the end and, the castle on the hill in the distance. Tourists walk by, some shop or take photos. The scene continues moving left across the cobblestones to a family leaning along the low side-wall staring at the river. The shot pans forward and back past them then back across the bridge where the tourist traffic has increased. Lots of kids skip by, a wooden display of sketches behind them. The scene moves quickly to the right and down to the cobblestones where the shadow of a woman hands the shadow of a camera over to another shadow of a woman.

Frenchman in London

The shot starts at the base of Big Ben, on the Houses of Parliament moving slowly east along the road, as a red double-decker bus blocks the view. There is mumbling in what may be French. As the move slowly continues it shows a long line of traffic, a white van, black taxis, a blue van, stopped on Westminster bridge leading onto the north bank of the river. At the end of the line of cars, brightly covered posters alongside the wall of the bridge’s west side, run into the distance below the concrete buildings of the north bank. The speaking continues, a man’s words forming a kind of sing song accompaniment. As the view crosses the bridge, taking in the old County Hall on the south bank, a stream of pedestrians crossing the bridge head along the bottom third of the image. The view moves along with the pedestrians, keeping the County Hall in the background, settling at the London Eye, then zooming out a little. It is silent now. Then the scene takes the trip back in the direction it’d just come from, moving left to right now, back across the County hall, past a (lesser) stream of pedestrians, back over Westminster bridge, past the colorful adverts and, and past, this time, the exposed close end of the west side of the bridge with a series of large white squares for advertising, one of which reads ‘Blair Out!’ in black graffiti. When the view reaches the Houses of Parliament, a red and white ambulance drives past and the scene zooms out following the ambulance to the stoplights and crosswalk. The view then returns to the base of Big Ben, slowly tilting up the tower until centering on the large clock face.

Germans in Prague

The screen is filled with the very close, blurred images of stones, paving stones, grey and pinkish and blue, large flat cobble-stones. They are swirling past. The dark lines between them become sharp and visible for a moment as a woman’s voice says “go ahead I’ll follow you”. The pace of the images increase – now and again including a part of a dark brown trainer with some kind of plaid patch on it.  man’s voice speaks in German. The view settles on an indistinct patch of concrete and says in English “Ok I start now”.

Much of what is on the screen is nothing more than blurred colors as the scene slowly moves upwards. There is a group of voices in the background, all male speaking in German. For a moment there is a pause on part of something round and silver on the left side of the frame – then something like red crumpled paper with white writing on it on the right side. The ascent continues and the voices quietly continue as well. The images alternate between dark and light but still have the quality of looking like parts of stone or rock. A close up of variegated gravel, in colors ranging from dark grey to light cream and even some pink and brown comes into sharp focus. As the shot rises a patch of mossy colored green is integrated with the dark grey. Then there is a horizontal line of white and then the grey of the stone becomes ordered into dark and light grey vertical stripes that end in another horizontal line of white. Now the stone is more uniformly grey and the surface appears smoother than what it was before. In zooming out just a bit, some letters are revealed that have been carved into the stone – the writing is in Czech. The scene pauses and the German voices continue, then stop. The view moves a bit to the left and a large carved foot is exposed, filling the frame. The scene follows up the leg past the hem of a garment, past carved folds and diagonal lines, finally to man’s face sculpted from the stone ending on the left side of the frame. There is the sound of German spoken again. Moving to the left shows the full stone face of a man looking down, with the feathery strands of a moustache around the corners of his mouth. Bits of cobwebs or bird droppings hang from his nose and chin. The scene moves up showing a carved bald head except for a tuft of hair gathered at the top in a sort of pony tail. The view continues up, close on more carved folds and curves, and then a slightly different color of grey stone with architectural aspects. Then the folds start again but this time with a particular pattern, almost floral against something pitted, then another different very obvious pattern of deeply grooved stripes bordered by small floral trim. Finally a massive stone head is revealed. A classic looking face with curly hair and beard, mouth slightly open against a bright white sky. The contrast of the image shifts as the exposure closes down on the camera from the introduction of the bright sky. More German is spoken and the view jiggles a bit as the white sky turns to a powder blue. Then the gaze moves to the right where the outstretched arm of the carved stone figure holds a gold cross. The scene continues on into the blue sky.

Indian family in Paris

The image jiggles quite a bit and then settles on an angle in which a horizon of trees in the distance is a diagonal green rectangle from the bottom left to the top right. “Vous record ici” my voice says. The image now floats off into the white sky with just the tops of the trees in the bottom of the frame. “Por une minute?” my voice suggests. A church tower appears on the left side if the image then as it travels downwards my face is there. Now a man’s voice asks something but his voice is to low and quiet and only my response is audible, “tous, anything”. My face quickly exits back to the left, out of frame and the orientation of the image is righted with the ground of the plaza in the bottom and the church of Notre Dame fills the left side in the background. Quickly the image swings to the left and turns 90 degrees on its side completely filled with the cobbled paving stones of the ground. “Vous film n’important pas” my voice syas. The image moves to the right revealing a baby’s stroller then back to the ground, “C’est, c’est, camera on record maintenant” –  my voice informs. “Oui? on record?” and for a second the edge of my face is in the corner of the frame and then there is a quick cut – Now things are still, the middle ground is a statue of a sceptered rider and horse on a tall plinth. They are the green of aged copper and set against a background of trees. What look like gas lamps, streetlights from an earlier era, 3 to a pole, line the walk before the statue as people stroll by in the foreground. Pigeons fly past and the scene follows them as the view moves to the left and upwards revealing the detailed stone work of the church. Just as it comes into view the scene becomes wider and further from Notre Dam allowing it to be seen almost in its entirety, minus the tops of the towers or end of the plaza where tourists stand. The scene doesn’t stop there but continues to move to the left and lower down where, at the end of the square bordered by trees, are low concrete benches set before them. A few people sit there facing the church while others stroll into view from the right. A child’s voice breaks in and there are running steps and the accompanying jiggle of a woman’s voice. The bench that had been on the left is now centered within the image and 2 people sit at the left end of it facing away but also facing each other a bit. Parked cars line the street between them and the trees. The view moves back in the direction from which it came – back to the right and down so that the stones of the plaza fill the middle ground of the image, then there are people in the distance and even more behind them looking almost lined up before the front facade of Notre Dame. The top of my head enters the view, and is out just as quickly as the scene continues to the right, now looking similar to where it began, before the statue which is now further away and more people are walking around the plaza. A handle of a baby carriage is on the right side. In a jerky way the scene moves further to the right and suddenly very close is the dark hair and eyes of an Indian woman smiling. The child’s voice is heard again. More shaking and more to the right, a modern building, a hedge, a sign, and a hand covers the view completely, then moves away. Against the background of a tall Edwardian edifice is the top half of the a face and a swish of fabric from his jacket sleeve filling the right edge. There is more shaking and jiggling, the hand blocks the view again for an instant and then there is more of the face – a dark eye, nose and mustache. The face is centered now, he looks directly into the lens for a moment. He has turned the viewfinder around and is adjusting his hold on the camera then there is my voice again “Tu connais le camera”. His face circles the edges of the frame, catching his wife next to him looking on, smiling. Now her face is there and the view lowers to a child while her mother holds her head . “Anotre dix seconds” my voice says. Slowly the view shifts out to the pavement and then back to the man’s face. His face moves in and out of view to the right and then there is just building and hedge and fence, then he moves his body around to be in front of his wife and child and his face reenters the frame in the foreground to the woman. He moves his head this way and that, negotiating the mirror like disruption of right and left movements. “Mama” the child says and the scene lowers to her face, now completely covered by the clear plastic of the bottle, the mother’s smiling eyes in the top of the frame against the white sky and an older child leaning against her shoulder on the left. “ah, ah, baby, ah” Her voice is sing song as her little sister finally lowers the bottle making a beautiful family image for just a fraction of a second. There is another cut the view is from below, up at the smiling Mum and baby engrossed in examining the contents of her bottle. The scene shakes up and down up and down.

Japanese man in London

The shot starts close on the scalloped stone of the tower and zooms out to reveal Big Ben in its entirety, spires from the main part of the building on the left side of the frame, a modern streetlamp before it. There is a tilt down, for an instant a Japanese man with black glasses in a red shirt pops into the bottom of the frame as the scene pans to the left showing the rest of the side of the building. Then the image turns to the right stopping on the man whose head had popped up before. He stands directly facing the camera, cradling a small camera in his left hand. He speaks in Japanese and waves and laughs. A voice from behind the camera responds, also in Japanese and the scene moves to the right and up towards office buildings, then back down as the red shirted man walks to the right and holds up his hand to block his face from view. The shot pans back left and returns to Big Ben, pans left along the building, pauses, continues left past the ice cream van, and me looking down at my watch. The image moves further away ending up with a more full shot of me. The scene pans right again to Parliament, then left along the building, then right, again ending with the reed shirted man who smiles, shakes his head and raises his hand in front of his face. There is unseen man’s laughter as the shot pans right past the souvenir stand and tourists walking by to the view of the London Eye in the distance. For a moment there is a pan to the right, catching a glimpse of the ice cream vendor, a boy, sticking his head out of the van window. The image shifts back to the Eye and zooms in once then twice then zooms back out. In the foreground a big man in a yellow shirt holds a camera in front of him and takes a photograph.

Slovakian family in Prague

The shot begins with an achingly blue sky and a girls accented voice asking “So can I start?”. My voice replies “Yes, go right ahead” as the shot pans down to the passers by on the bridge. The scene pans left, following a blond woman, squinting into the sunlight then stops, letting the woman exit and centers on a massive statue darkened with age and soot. Figures along the bottom of it look to be attempting to climb near the two robed men above them, the topmost raises his finger into the sky, directly beneath a passing cloud. Behind them to the right are the cream colored buildings along the river-bank, the river and subsequent bridges further downstream stretch into the distance on the left. Two men, both in matching shirts, one tall the other short, seem to lead the view to the left along the bridge. Now the shot zooms in on the castle in the background, the center of which is blocked by another stone figure holding a golden cross and pointing to the left – upriver. Quickly there is a pan left and zoom in close on two towers, one a gate at the end of the bridge, the other a clock-tower, both standing before a large green dome. The shot passes them and ends at two more statues on the upriver side of the bridge, the one closer holds a staff but they are both backlit by the sun and completely dark. The image begins to shake violently, blurring stone and sky, a lamppost pops into view, the colored clothes of some tourists, until there is a zoom out revealing what looks like the silhouette of a baby being carried on the shoulders of the stone man. Now a pan to the left  along the upper bank of the river. There is a tree covered green hill with red roofed buildings at its base. The scene zooms in for a moment on a communications tower, then jumps to a close up of some trees, then buildings, then the water, all very close and unsteady. A bird flies along the bottom of the frame as the shot continues left, now some curly hair and a woman’s voice says something in Slovakian and the head disappears. The image shows the slow moving water and then the bridge upriver, buildings behind fit in the backgound, small boats and kayakers moving under its arches. Erratically the shot continues left along this bridge to the opposite bank, to what looks like a park and boat dock.

Unknown Tourist in London

Starting at the street, the image gradually tilts to the base of Big Ben, on up along the tower to the clock itself, then zooms in two swift motions. Then it quickly zooms back out and tilts back down to the body of the building across a crowded road. Panning to the right the view of tourists ends with a shot of a stand of British souvenir hats at a stand. The scene moves towards a cluster of blue visors then turns to the left as a man attempts to duck beneath the view of the lens. The shot follows a row of caps and visors along the top of the stand and then moves in close on the wares for sale, miniature Big Bens and London Towers, London Buses and Black taxis. British talk radio can be heard. Finding a row of coffee cups emblazoned with a picture of Princess Diana the image zooms in. Zooming out, the scene pans to the right showing potential souvenir customers, some holding vanilla ice cream cones. The view moves through them past a man walking towards the stand saying “You want anything? whatdyawant?” The London eye is in the distance and the image slowly zooms in on it, to the top of the wheel close, on some of the cars, jiggles a bit right, then left, then zooms back out. Panning right there is a sign for pancakes fronting a small stand and then the top of an ice cream van.

Polish family in Paris

The scene is a large plaza with the sound of church bells tolling. At the far end before a great green tree, standing high upon a large pedestal, is the statue of a horse and rider seemingly in mid gallop, a scepter held high in the rider’s hand. People stand about and walk past as the gaze shifts to the right, where the top of a large orange balloon with the rounded arches of a capital letter ‘M’ fills the bottom half of the frame. The scene shifts back to the left and the grand white edifice of the church of Notre Dame looms into view against a grey sky. The bells continue to peel. The view moves further to the left, to the tree lined edge of the plaza and the facades of the stone buildings along it. The image jiggles a bit as it settles on a row of people sitting along a low wall facing the church. The red sari of an Indian woman is closest, next to her a mustachioed Indian man wears a vivid blue shirt, beyond him a girl in white trousers and a black top lights a cigarette. The gaze continues around as the Sari clad woman stands up revealing very long black hair, and then the blue school jacket uniform of a child stands directly in front of the view. The image shakes a bit more and seems to follow the child as she walks to the left. Now a face, a man with short blond hair, fills the frame. Just as this image is completely in the center, he turns his head to the left and, speaking in Polish, says some words to someone near him. He turns back, facing front, and then he moves slightly to the left again, revealing a smiling boy, also with close cropped blond hair, wearing a striped shirt. The man turns his face to the boy, his nose and mouth still in the upper right of the frame. Speaking to the boy and smiling he cups his hand around the back of the boys head to direct it towards the camera, which he moves a bit to the right showing an even younger boy of similar appearance in the bottom of the frame – this younger face sits between two red plastic handles of what might be a pram. The man speaks to this younger boy who squeels a bit and moves to the left – now hidden by the entrance into the frame of the orange balloon with the arches of the letter ‘M’ from earlier. The gaze continues to the left – the statue of the horse and rider now again in the far background, the small boy is in the bottom part of the frame, in the arms of a pretty young woman who kisses him and speaks to him in Polish and points directly forward. The bells carry on sounding as the woman kisses the boy again and stands. The scene moves on again to the left revealing the large stone plaza and the bottom half of Notre Dame.

Amercan#4 London

There are fast moving close ups of the clock of Big Ben, details in the architecture of the tower, the sky, a lamppost, the face of the clock, then the shot zooms out and zooms in, again, always moving, the sound of a young boy making zooming noises, trails of color and forms, then some curls of hair and a face, a teenage boy, nose ring like the  kind they put on bulls, more zooming in and out, then visual motion as everything in the path of the pan becomes lines and swirls of color moving back and forth. Then the scene zooms out revealing the street angled to the left as if the world was tipped counter clockwise. There is a pan to the right – still at he same angle, over to the London Eye and a zoom in on the spirograph center of cables. Then the sh ot jumps up to the outer ring of cars and quickly follows them around in a circle. As the shot reaches the bottom of the wheel, heads and faces of the crowd interject and it ends up back on the teenager from earlier, then zooms in, even further, on the nose ring. A woman’s voice says “there’s a bus” and the images race past again in a blur, zooming out on a still tilted shot of the Parliament Building. Then there is a zoom in on the various spires along the top, backlit they darken to almost black against the bright sky.

American#3in London

A boy and a man stand next to each other with the London Eye in the background while a woman’s voice “Yaaay”. The view moves upwards, tilts up  as the voice announces “the London Eye” presenting the cars of the wheel as they rotate down from the apex. “All the way around” she says, the image circling counter clockwise. Blurred colors and shapes swish past as the scene pans left and she says “Lets turn around”. The frame stops on the fluted concrete of the Parliament Building and the view canters to almost on its side and pans to the left which would be up if the camera where right way up. The scne stops at the clock face and she says “There we go”. The image moves back down and turns back to the normal orientation. “Are we done yet?’ she asks.

American#5  London

A woman’s voice says “Start” and there is a Van on the street in front of Parliament. The shot slowly tilts up and pans left to the Thames edge of the building, progressing slowly whilst panning across the side facade towards the clock tower. “Big Ben over here” she says and the view tilts up the tower. It pauses at the face and zooms in then travels the view back down and pans left, catching the upper deck of a bus stopped on the street as a woman inside finds her seat. The scene continues to pan left through the sky ending on the three lamps of a Victorian streetlight, tilts up and down, zooms in, zooms out, then pans left past an Ice Cream truck, another streetlight and the multi tiered signpost. Another woman’s voice says “Let’s hear a little commentary Deb” The image continues to pan left and Deb says “Let’s go over to the London Eye” as the frame includes it in the background. The shot zooms in and out a little as Deb says “How can you miss this London Eye” and her friend laughs. Slowly panning left, the smiling face of a woman enters the left side of the frame and waves “And here’s my sister Nancy” a small zoom in and out and Nancy says “Hello”. The shot continues to pan the view to the left when Deb says “And my daughter Ashley” as a young woman’s smiling face, blond and blue eyed like the previous woman but younger and facing toward the right, enters the frame from the left and turns a bit to looking forward. “Straight form Pungered, New York” and she laughs. The young woman looks away and back with a slightly embarrassed but mischievous look.

Asian man in London

“Start yeh?” says a mans voice over the image of Big Ben. The scene simultaneously tilts up and zooms into the face of the clock. Zooms all the way in showing the ornate gold scrollwork and details. Then the shot slowly zooms back out, the tower framed by the top of a lampost on the right side. The view steadily tilts down to the base and pans left along the side of the buiding. He says “I’ve started to record now”. The methodical pan continues, crossing the road, past the ice cream truck and me , head bowed, standing  in front of it, looking at my watch. The image moves on to the tourists walking by with London Eye in the background. he scene zooms in to the bottom of the wheel, on one of the glass capsules with people standing inside. The scene circles the outer ring of the wheel, moving clockwise from one car to the next, until it zooms out again to show the Eye in its entirety. “How much seconds I got?” he asks and my voice says “5 remaining”. “5 seconds, now I need to get beautiful lady” he responds, as the image pans back and forth.

Canadians in Prague

For a moment there are shadows from folds of a cotton shirt. “So, what d’you want to do?” A woman’s voice asks “You’re filming first?” A man’s voice asks. “I’m gonna film you first” she responds, “Then I’ll film you?”, “Yeah”. Indistinct and hazy shades of light and dark fill the scene. “Wait a second you’re too close or…” , her voice says. There’s a button, the hem of a shirt against brown pants, an arm, a wristwatch. “What’s goin’ on here?” she continues. A neck, a chin with whiskers, “Oh here we go” There’s a quick swish of a crowd in the background then back to the shirt. “And the zoom…oh I see”. The image widens out showing a man standing on the Charles Bridge in Prague, gothic towers and domes in the background, while tourists pass behind him. “I see what’s goin’ on here. Ok,” she laughs. The man smiles pleasantly if rather stiffly as her voice begins “Hi here we are in Prague this is Mark my husband Mark”, he waves and says “Hello”. Her voice continues, “This is our first time here” He places his hands behind his back. She goes on “We just finished coming from a concert, a baroque concert in the church it was very lovely, we left our son , 5 months old, Noah, with our girlfriends,” He does a kind of snorting laugh and looks out to the right, “so we’re a little you know” her voice pauses “Apprehensive” he pipes in “Apprehensive” she agrees “This is the first time we’ve left him so but”,  “Ever” the husband includes “Yes” she agrees and then they are laughing and the shot moves in closer towards him so he fills just a bit more of the frame. “Alone, and we’re doing it in a foreign country” he adds. They are both giggling. “Exactly”, comes from her voice. He explains “With a girlfriend who met us here who is on a world trip so it’s very nice of Jennifer and we’re going to meet her for dinner now” “Exactly” his wife agrees “ and we’ve been approached by this young lady here,” he continues, pointing to the right. “From Los Angeles,” and the shot swings to the right where he had been gesturing to and I am there, squinting in the sun, in front of the base of a large dark statue. I lift my hand in a wave. “There she is” says the wife’s voice and then the view returns to the husband. He goes on “to do this, help her with an art exhibit” “Yeah” the wife adds “We thought it’d be very nice, and my wife is just as beautiful as always”, and he moves forward, filling the frame. The shot shifts over to me for an instant then his face fills the left side of the image, “and there she is” comes from his voice while the view moves across the sky and down to a smiling woman waving, leaning against the bridge over the river. “Hello, hi” she waves. His voice announces “Her name is Judith” “How do you do” she says as the image pans over to the water and back and his voice says “And this is the city. We like Prague,” “Oh we love Prague”, she adds. “We love Prague” he corrects “Yeah” she says. His voice “Almost as much as we expected.” She gestures her hands and arms as she speaks “Yeah exactly, all the little streets that you can walk down and find like hidden treasures” The scene pans over to the right where the castle and city are beautifully backlit by the sun setting among the clouds. “It’s very nice”, she says. The shot pans back past her, on to the river again and his voice “hmmhmm, beautiful and we hope this project turns out for this lovely lady from Los Angeles” The scene continues to pan to the left, revealing another bridge in the background and on then to the statues I am leaning against, and finally me as I move in close, hand outstretched forward. “Thank you.” I say, “thank you, you guys are great”

Americans in London

Shakily there’s the clock tower Big Ben in sight, then the view moves past the houses of Parliament and back again. A voice asks if they get to talk on it. Now going in the opposite direction, the gaze scans across the sky catching the tops of buildings in the vista.  A green blur of a tree whooshes past, birds fly through and the shot settles at the giant ferris wheel across the river, the London Eye. A building crane at work next to it echoes its lattice-like wires and cables. The heads of people walking past, bob in and out of the bottom of the frame. The scene swings back around to Big Ben, a streetlight lingers on the right side. A different voice asks “What is the best thing you’ve seen so far.” “ I don’t know” a child’s voice responds. The voice is high and girlish. The scene shifts back over to the Houses of Parliament. “What’s that thing over there, what’s that thing?” the first voice asks. “Eye” the girl replies. The scene turns back over to The London Eye, this time from the other side, catching the large red letters of an ice cream truck as it goes, stopping at the tall wooden signpost to the right that points to the various landmarks from that spot. After lingering there briefly, it’s back to the Houses of Parliament, once again passing the large red ‘i-c-e c-r-e-a-m’ letters, and ending with a double streetlight on the right side. Back to the eye, back to Big Ben, passing ‘ice cream’ each time

Americans #2 in London

“Alright, I’ve started” a man’s voice says, the scene presenting a view of a crowd of tourists passing in both directions next to a souvenir stand brimming with union-jack emblazoned paraphernalia. A young Japanese man flashes his two fingers in a peace sign and smiles. The view tilts up to the London Eye and zooms in on its glass cars filled with tourists. The scene circles the giant wheel clockwise, following the path of the cars as they journey round. The shot makes it about halfway and when the heads of the passing crowd interrupts the view then find its way back, ending up with nothing but sky filling the frame. It zooms out to the street filled with people and pans right catching a glimpse of me, head down looking at my watch. The scene moves slightly left focusing on a pair of Asian girls standing and looking directly face forward. An Asian man walks in front of them, also watching facing forward. The view pans left and follows along with a group of teenage boys as they navigate through the crowd, passing the souvenir stand, leading the view all the way to the base of Big Ben across the street. The scene tilts up and zooms in a bit on the clock face, zooms back out, and tilts back down to the street. London buses and black taxis drive by heading to the right side of the frame as it pans left, taking in the rest of the side of the building. Suddenly the shot pans right, back around to the stand and the voice says something about losing the camera. The shot zooms in on the faces of the passing tourists.

Chicago man in LA

This is a wide view of a landscape, low scrubby green hills end in a plateau crowned by a high tension tower, on the front of which sits the large white letters HOLLYWOOD. A man’s voice in accented English says “Oh , that’s nice” Then my voice, a small laugh and “You can shoot anything you  want for one minute.” The shot pans from side to side and his voice says “Oh, ok, you’re timing me” The African sounding accent asks “so how do you make it…” and the image tilts down to a bush just behind a low chain link fence. I hear my voice point out the zoom control and the scene tilts back up and zooms in on the Hollywood sign whilst the man’s voice tells how his camera is a little different. He asks “so where are you from?” My voice “I live here and where are you from?”. The image is close up on things far away, jumping from the sky to cars on a road, to the trees and plants and dirt. “I’m from Chicago” his voice says. “You’re visiting” I my voice says and his says “We still have snow in Chicago “. My voice asks how long he’s here for. The shot, still zoomed in, is a series of blurry colors of green and grey, every once and a while recognizable form of a branch or the sign letters or the curve of a hillside. “Just for the weekend” says the accented voice “I go back tomorrow”. He says he has already been here for the week for some training.  Now the image is of the fence, the metal makes patterns of lines and circles. The shot catches sight of a man’s trouser leg next to the fence, then jumps to an even closer examination of a fence post. My voice asks what his training was for and his tells me he works with displaced people helping them get jobs. The shot returns to the trousers leg, now two in the patterned shadow of the fence, they turn and walk away. His voice says “Maybe I can shoot you too” and the blurry images become more diverse and colorful. The scene pulls back revealing a woman’s face and body. It is me. “You can shoot anything you want” I say on camera.

Danish boys in Prague

The image is of a boy’s neck and back of the ear. The ends of his hair sweep to the left, end in a slight curl. “You ready?” my voice asks and a boys voice says “uuuuuuuuuuuuuh, yeah that’s, that’s okay” The shot zooms out revealing the head, back and shoulders, white vest beneath a daypack, a ropey gold chain around the neck.  The boy is looking out over the river Vltava at a low break spanning the water, and the bridge beyond that. Boats float by too. There is a lot of Danish being spoken and the boy in the scene turns round and looks directly ahead. He walks towards the left and closer, stepping in alongside another boy and the scene follows him as they stop before the base of a blackened statue. A voice speaking Danish says something to him and he turns forward and flashes nothing less then a Tom Cruise smile. The other fellow stands beside him, a bit further back, not smiling, wearing small sunglasses and a stripey shirt. The smiler laughs and says something, now the shot pans left revealing another two guys, standing in such a way to make a sort of circle with the first two. A short-haired blond in a checked shirt faces front whiles a taller, bigger, shaved-headed one is closer but faces to the right. Checkered shirt says something in Danish that causes the big guy to playfully push him into the others, out of frame. Now he says something and the scene pans back across all of them to the view of the river. It continues to pan right past me -ducking down, and onto the bridge where tourists stroll and venders sell sketches,  tacked up on wooden boards. The shot zooms in for a moment on three Japanese tourists walking towards the camera, then tilts up above them and zooms in even further on a jumble of houses that cover the hill a the end of the bridge. It zooms back out to a shot of the bridge with a street-light and statue silhouetted on the left as the back of a man crosses into the setting from the right. The man wheels a cart before him and a neon orange vest hangs from his waist. The image quickly pans left, past me talking to the boys, and then the boys themselves, still oriented in their same order, in a sort of semi-circle now facing forward. The checked shirted one speaks in Danish. The scene pans back and forth across them as the big guy says “ya” and they all smile. Checked shirt leans in towards stripey shirt and Tom Cruise, putting his arm around them. The shot zooms in on checkered shirt, smiling with dimpled cheeks. Now panning left, it zooms in on the green dome in the distance on this side of the bridge. The big guy is on the side of the frame and stretching to see something in the opposite direction. He moves back out of view and there is just the bridge full of tourists and the buildings at the end of it. The scene zooms in on the tower of the bridge gate, settling on the archway at its base and including the heads of the passing crowds. The space seems to compact as the zoom continues, flattening out and bringing everything close. The image becomes unsteady and my voice says “okay, thank you”.

Mexican boy in LA

The shot starts with the speckled cement ground as a leash swings in and out of frame. My voice says “You can shoot anything you want for one minute” and that the camera is already recording then someone speaks in Spanish. “Okay?” my voice asks  “Yeah” a boys voice says and the scene tilts up presenting a view of a parking lot at the edge of a park, people walk past with long shadows in the afternoon light. The shot pans to the left showing a line of tourists, some with cameras, looking out over the Hollywood hills then pans back, building speed, past the tourists, past the parking lot, past me, past parked cars, all the way round back to the view of the hills. It is quiet with just the sound of the breeze. A young woman’s face enters the right side of the frame, smiling, waving two fingers in a peace sign. The scene pans back to the left and another young woman’s face enters the left side, also smiling then shyly turns away to the right. The shot continues panning to the left, past me again, to a young girl sitting on the curb in front of 3 or 4 bicycles. She’s in a bike helmet, drinking from a plastic water bottle looking off into the distance before her. The image tilts down to reveal another person sitting beside her whose face is hidden by a large grey sweatshirt hood. The scene moves in close as a hand reaches out from the left onto the NIKE logo and pulls back the hood to expose a head of brown curls. His arm quickly reaches back and grabs the hood back into place to unseen laughter. The scene tilts up, past the bikes over to the view of the landscape and the tourists observing it then a quick swish with to the right as a car drives past then slowly back to the left and the view. The image pauses there, low branches of a pine tree gracefully frame the hills and the shot zooms out a bit. Then it zooms in on the tops of the hills beneath the swaying pine needles. “Good, perfect”, my voice says, “thank you.”

American Band in Prague

Even rows of cobblestones fill the frame. A young woman’s voice says “wait, you gotta tell me how to do it” and my voice says “You’re already on.” “I’m recording” her voice says, “you’re recording” my voice echos. The image shifts around the cobblestones then lifts up a bit showing the pattern of 6 rows laid out evenly amid the more chaotic placement, leading diagonally to the upper right corner of the frame where the feet of a group of tourists are visible. “Wait where’s the zoom?” her voice asks “this is the zoom, and if you wan to walk away you can go as far as my leash will let you” my voice explains. “okay” her voice. Mine- “Just tell me when you want to start and I’ll time you” The edge of a skirt flits in and out of the frame. “Allright – start right now” her voice says and the image tilts up revealing the low sun, behind a finger of a cloud silhouetting spires dotted across the landscape, an old streetlamp and a finger pointing statue on the bridge. Someone’s head is in the foreground but it is too dark to see any details. The shot zooms in and the head becomes a smiling blond young woman holding a camera tucked against her body. The zoom continues until it’s on the young woman’s eyes, which blur and go out of focus. She raises her camera up and points it directly forward. The scene sweeps rapidly left, blurred colors pass and stop at a fluffy cloud. The scene zooms out and there is a young man in sunglasses, sitting on the low wall of the bridge above the silvery river. One leg is up on which he rests his arm. Behind him are red roofed buildings below a tree covered hill, all a bit dark in the coming twilight. The scene pans to the right and another young man with dyed hair in a bowl cut and glasses sits at the foot of one of the bridges stone statues. He leans in a bit into the frame as the shot tilts up the statue to the sculpted back of a girl, arms outstretched upwards. The scene zooms in on the stone braids above the sculpted bow of her dress. The shot tilts up the statue to the face of an old man, finger raised to the heavens. The exposure of the camera adjusts to the light of the blue sky and backlights the figure. The shot quickly tilts back down and, to the close sounds of jostling, swoops past a blur of light and dark when suddenly an open mouth pops into view from the left. Now just as suddenly it is gone and after more blurs, there is a bucolic scene of birds floating in the river with trees along its bank. A red roofed building lies in the background, a small green cupola poking up from behind the trees. The scene zooms out revealing the side of the bridge and the large domed building at its end. A yellow boat paddles towards it. There is a zoom in and sweep to the left ending on a T-shirt with the words Tropical Heatwave. A mans voice says “there’s a really great band playing tonight” and a hostel map slides into view from below with heavy black writing proclaiming ‘tonight! from USA MAGGI, PIERCE & E.J. 21 July. 10pm’ with the little drawing of a musical note. Hands flip the map over and point to the text on it whilst the voice says “At the Arena Hostel”. The shot shifts to the left onto the water of the river with part of the dark stone statue on the right side. In the background downstream is the bridge and the left bank with buildings and trees. The scene zooms into one of the buildings, onto it’s green cupola flanked by Czech and EU flags. Now the scene turns sideways and the image flips so that the building turns 45 degrees. The shot is now close on the water as the dark and light patterns shift round and round. It zooms out and, passing the chin and chest of a young man, the image is upside down, the buildings behind him at the bottom and the passing cobblestones at the top. The scene pans past passing tourists that all seems to be floating on their heads. It circles all the way round back to the young man and past him. Past the base of the statue and cruise boat in the river, all of course, at the top of the image. It ends up back at the almost exact same setting sun as was begun with as the image flips back to the regular orientation. The shot moves past the blond girl, this time without her camera, to some tourists leaning over the edge of the bridge looking to the river below. It zooms in and sweeps as a series of colors and shapes fly past. Now there is the green and white pattern of clothes. The image zooms out revealing it to be the pattern of a woman’s top above a grey skirt, which the woman grabs and adjusts her pants beneath. There is unseen laughter. Shifting to the right,  a few tourists mill about on the bridge. A couple walk by. The scene pans to the right onto a wide shot of an impressively massive stone statue. Its many figures darkly lit against the blue sky, the top one of which, clad in robes, raises an arm skyward. There is a  zoom in on it then a move off to the left and the sky, then capturing the green netting of a construction site in the background. The heads of passing tourists interrupt the view.

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