Josh's Photo Blog

August 7, 2008

Olympic Mania!

Filed under: rants — joshuaps @ 4:46 am

Something I ask myself quite often these days, and something that is often asked of me is, why the hell aren’t you in Beijing hanging around the Olympics? I mean, the Philippines isn’t too far away, and it’s not amazingly difficult for a Filipino to get a Chinese tourist visa (I’m a dual citizen), and you’ve been to the city before, so you know what’s up, right? I mean, dude, this could be your big break, man! Yeah, I know you don’t shoot sports, Josh, but even just hanging out on the street, you’ll be rubbing elbows with the best photographers in the world, shooting the jubiliation, anguish, rallies and riots of the people of the capital of the most populous country in the world, during what is pretty much the most significant single event of the year, if not the decade.

Short answer: I didn’t prepare to go.

The long answer is, of course, quite a bit more complicated. A lot of the reason I’m not physically in Beijing right now is, of course, due to poor planning – I didn’t really think to do things like get visas or accommodation until about a month ago when it struck me that this thing might, maybe, just be a big thing. I guess that means I don’t deserve to be out there anyway, but I have resources (thanks, mom and dad!) that could have put me out there if I really wanted to.

This is where I want to spout something deep and sublime about the Western media sensationalizing the whole event, attaching deep meaning to what is essentially a really, really huge track meet hosted by a country that has been written, photographed and videoed to death, just because it, like South Korea and Japan before it, happens to have amassed enough economic clout to put some real shivers down American spines. It’d make me look like one of those cool guys that bucks the trend, the guy that appears to have missed the scoop, but surprises everyone by coming home with something that nobody else thought to do. But I won’t, and can’t, because deep down, I really do feel like the Olympics are that significant. It doesn’t take a genius, after all, to realize that anything that can unite the world’s largest country like the Olympics seem to have is kind of a really big freakin’ deal!

I think, in the end, my not going came down to family reasons. Not just the idea of leaving them early to start my coverage (though this was a big factor) but also because it would have been a big financial gamble (on the order of $3000+) with their money if I’d gone. It’s one thing to want to be there, and quite another to consider the resources that would be spent just to hover around with thousands of other photographers, hoping for some calamity to strike right in front of you, and only you, so you could sell the photos to make the money back. In the final analysis, I just couldn’t justify that kind of gross expenditure.

That said, I do want to be out covering a huge, world-changing event like that someday. I have a sinking feeling that London 2012 won’t be quite as big a deal, but who knows?

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