Sunday, January 11, 2009

Polynesian Village by Morning

I'm not exactly a great or even adequate photographer - I've been using the same old digital camera with the same fixed lens for a decade now, and if one positive thing can be said about it it's that I know the tricks and the limitations of the thing by now and can work within them pretty well. As a compositionalist it can be said that I'm alright, although I am inordinately fond of asymmetrical compositions where the subject is pushed to the thirds of the frame (this was drilled into me in art class and will probably never leave me) and I also love the hoary old trick of sticking objects, leaves, tree branches and other stuff into the foreground of my subjects. I picked it up from The Night of the Hunter and it also comes part and parcel with my photographic style.

Which isn't to say that I don't have ideas about photography. Most of my experience leads me to believe that half the art of taking a shot is showing up with the camera; I have thousands of missed opportunities for great photos behind me and only a handful of truly worthwhile ones. Because of this, I believe that there will never be any great photographs taken on an attraction, which makes you view the same things from the same distance in the same time, every time. Photographs of Walt Disney World and Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland (and on and on) which merely document rather than describe overflow from the internet today; perhaps because it is still a vacation spot for many people does the rule that it only inspires "vacation photographs" still hold true. I think the best sort of Disney park photography captures something tactile about the place, at the right time, in the right place, and the odds are largely random.

A few days ago I trekked to the Polynesian early in the morning with three intents: to finally get coffee from the Kona Island coffee bar, to eat Tonga Toast for the first time, and to get pictures. Disney architecture truly photographs best and looks best in the first few and last few hours of daylight, and I lucked out with a nice, diffuse foggy morning. The sun was just starting to strike the big central volcano at the feature pool, it would be more than an hour before the Magic Kingdom would open, the big ferry boats were just starting to take their first passengers to the park, and this was truly a graced hour. I took lots of photos, and I think a handful of them do capture something authentic about the place. I've arranged them in a style which emulates those great old Pictorial Souvenirs, and placed them on the internets for all to enjoy. The page is laid out the way it is to encourage you to scroll, linger, and move on as you please, left-right and north-south, because I believe this enforced "pace" and interactivity is what is sorely lacking from today's DeviantArt and Flickr accounts. Click to enjoy:

The Polynesian Village, although it has spread large and no longer goes by that name, is the original "high theme" resort hotel, and still possibly the best. Its' white beaches, tropical planting, traditional bridges (symbols of entering a magic place in American mid-century primitivism; see the Tiki Room), beautiful carvings by Oceanic Arts, and privileged atmosphere are unrivaled by any subsequent Disney property. It is absolutely the biggest thing I will miss when I eventually move on and out of Central Florida.


George Taylor said...

Fantastic photo essay!


Chris F. said...

Absolutely beautiful, Foxx.

Damn, I will be spending a morning at that resort next trip.

Allstarme79 said...

Great photos!

Tangaroa said...

Yay. My favorite resort by far, in delicious photos. Although I'm not sure what to think because the hoary photo affectations you list are my standard operating procedure :)

But you first Tonga Toast? Your first?! Egads, woman!

Zwilnik said...

The font is a subtle modification of Arial

Impossible. Arial -- a cheap knockoff of Helvetica -- didn't exist until the 1980's, and not under that name until circa 1994, when Microsoft used it to avoid paying royalties for Helvetica.

Scott Lawrence said...

The photo album seems to not exist anymore? Is it still available anywhere?