tourist icon

This morning somebody took a photo of me while I was busking. It was at a new spot I've found, at Melbourne Central. I didn't say anything at the time - just gave the Asian girl, cradling a tiny digital camera, a strange look. It wasn't til afterwards that that the incident settled in my chest and I began to feel angry. I suppose I felt objectified - like I was a tourist icon, rather than a real person who deserves to be asked before having her photo taken. Just part of the city landscape. I imagined finding myself in a Melbourne Information brochure - a two-dimensional thing that adds to the 'culture' of this city, but devoid of background or personality.

I remember going to Mexico City and guiltily taking my little disposable camera out of my backpack and taking a picture of a scene of people eating outside a street vendor. I knew it was wrong but I did it anyway, and I still remember the looks of annoyance on people's faces as they found their images imprinted - as though they were monkeys at a zoo - on the film of a tourist's camera.

I guess now I know how it feels.