Friday 27th April 2007

I was walking through Christ Church today and saw a tourist taking a photograph. He was standing at the bottom of the stairs to Hall. He had obviously just walked past the ideal spot to take the photo from but, rather than take a step back to said ideal spot, he was instead awkwardly arching his back, like a competitive limbo dancer who’s been overdoing it recently undergoing a painful slow-motion spasm, to get the angle juuuuuuust right.

It made me think: do mimes need a tripod?

I mean, those guys can hold pretty still. If you were one of those ones so fond of covering themselves and their clothes top to toe in metallic paint and pretending to be a statue you could surely hold a camera steady for twenty seconds whilst it took a night-time shot of college. I had thought that mime was a useless and slightly creepy art form, like folk music, but it appears that I may have been sadly mistaken.

This is doubly interesting because Christ Church have a bit of a peculiar attitude when it comes to photography. The whole of college is copyrighted, and you need permission to profit from images or video taken there, and, as such, bowler-hatted ‘Custodians’ are entrusted with guarding against potential copyright infringement by chucking out suspected undercover professional photographers. So, how do you tell a professional photographer from a well-off Japanese tourist festooned with more digital SLRs than limbs? The policy is quite simple: a pro would have a tripod.

Apart from being a bit ridiculous (what kind of idiot uses a tripod in the daytime anyway?), I now wonder if there’s a way round it. Could I bring a mime? Indeed, there is a whole plethora of potential camera-stabilising apparatus which isn’t a tripod just waiting to be used to play the system. Perhaps three mimes in some kind of pyramidal arrangement. Perhaps an army of mimes to overwhelm the Custodians by pretending to be robots trapped in invisible boxes. I’m sure there are other possibilities not involving mimes, but I can’t think of any.

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