A person should travel. An educated person should travel a lot, looking for new people to refine his experience. A person who wants to create something should probably never stop traveling.
Changing places seems to be one of the keys to avoid the inside stagnation. There’s the Russian word “местечковость” (mestechkovost’) that refers to a local kind of thinking, to being unable to think out of the limits of your own region. It happens to people, who live at one place for the whole of their lives. Sometimes I also start feeling this mestechkovost’ within myself. 🙂
I just got back from Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Istanbul. I took Rena Effendi’s (www.refendi.com) class on storytelling through portraits. I must say that unexpectedly it was one of the best experiences in my life. Not because I learned a lot from it (well, of course I did, but how much you can learn during one week). But somehow I got great stimulus for continuing with photography and more, I got stimulus for working on longer term projects than I did so far. So in this sense the workshop was an incredible experience. Not mentioning that I met some smart people there. 🙂
Istanbul… The city degraded the opinion I had about it. Instead of being the cultural connection between the West and the East it turned out to be a big shopping mall. In Istanbul everything is for sale: water, juice, shoes, sightseeing, ferryboats, Haiga Sofia, Blue Mosque. When it starts raining local boys pour out into the streets selling umbrellas. When it’s hot you can see water salesmen everywhere. Cafe and restaurant waiters stop you when you pass the places trying to get you inside.
Compared to this Grand Bazaar looked just like a museum of trading, while the scale of trading was much larger. More irritating than all those street salesmen and waiters were only hordes of tourists who seemed to be everywhere.
That made me think for a moment, whether I’d want Tbilisi (or the whole Georgia) to turn into such a trading and tourism machine in a few years.