I realize based on some of the comments from my last post, that people took my payapl story the wrong way.  Every person I spoke to had an accent, including the person who sorted it out. I cannot be 100% sure  where they were talking to me from, so perhaps it was inappropriate for me to guess their nationality. However, I suppose it is because I do not think that identifying someone as Indian is in any way an insult. Whether they are in India, Singapore or any place outside of the Untied States, there are valid problems with the entire call center outsourcing industry, most notably that it can be a challenge to understand the issues and language of another culture. And it sets unrealistic standards for the customer service agents. I certainly would have a hard time becoming a customer service agent, for the Indian railway for instance or answering calls in any of the countries who now provide this service to US companies.

Understanding the “other” is especially problematic in photography. To photograph outside your own experience and culture always comes with baggage. Especially when there you are white, male, and come from first world county.  However I do not think that we should always reduce things to these levels.  Ang Lee was born in Taiwan, but to me made one of the best Cowboy movies ever made, abet slightly outside of the mainstream idea of a western.  Artists to me need to be the ones to think outside of boxes, while focusing on their experience of world. This is stll a very tender time in our world. So yes to cultural understanding, appreciation, and openness and no to overly PC thinking.  I recognize this is such an important issue right now, but I think if we could work to dissolve some of these ideas, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, would be candidates for President not “a female candidate for President” or “a black candidate for President.”  McCain would of course still be the ornery guy running for President.

One of my favorite photogs ever Raghubir Singh