Welcome to Tunis!

by Downs Jim

welcome to tunis tunisia seeking critique downs jim

Gallery: Africa - Tunisia 12/04 & 1/05

Tags: tunisia tunis seeking critique

Category: Travel

Published: Thursday 26th of January 2006 06:35:24 AM


Paul Chepikian
A rather sad image although the kids are laughing. Interesting contrast. Personally, I've always found the image of children "flipping the bird" rather sad. Oh how times have changed. This is a very political image in light of how the world views Western Culture. Provocative!

Manolis Spanakis
I like this spontaneity and the beautiful smiles of the boys. The equilibrium of the composition (with one eye missing at each side) is remarkable also. The monument is also almost perfectly captured despite of complexity of the situation. A rather un-interesting, at the first glance, tumbnail becomes an incredibly interesting photograph with so many elements to study. Even with the best of chance, huge experience is requied. Bravo!

Madeleine B.
What a great expression on his face. He seems so proud of his move :)

Edwin Mendoza
Good timing and perfect composition.

Baerbel Kavanaugh
Wow - what a capture! Wonderful documentary via a very unusual and interesting composition. It's a fun picture, extremely well executed! Thanks for sharing. :)

Lucy Hollis
'What the rest of the world thinks about the west' - and then you start wondering where they would have learnt this signal... Though also when I think about the random vulgar English sentances that Peruvian children spout out to you, one just has to trust its purely copying, without comprehension.

Reza Shadpay
it's my personal opinion I'm not agree with you Jim, it's not a welcome! and if I were you I didn't share this image! and if I share I NEVER choose this title. first, you suppose they did this act because they are only kid, and joyful, I'm sure they don't know what thy do! then, if you really think they know and they are seriously did it to say you welcome, we must think more why they have like this behavior with foreigns and turists. But strongly I feel, they are only kid, and kidding! as I pointed, this is my personal view. Regards. from photography view, this is very beautiful image! ;)

Daniel Hansen
I think this is both sad and interesting. I'm 23 years old, but it doesn't seem like the world should change so much in the time I've been around. I know that when I was around the age of these boys I would have been upset by someone flipping someone off like this, but now I have to admit that I've been desensitized somewhat. Notwithstanding this, I'm still upset by the humor they find in this and hope it can be explained by their ignorant imitating. Lucy, it really is sad to think where they learned this, but it's more sad that they don't know how their message is really going to hit some people (different for different cultures). Mohammad, whether kidding or not, this is the welcome Jim got from these boys, so his title fits. They probably aren't kidding. They probably know its an insult. I can't imagine they think that's a proper greeting to some stranger. I certainly wouldn't want to see kids running around the U.S.A. flipping off tourists from other countries, or anyone for that matter. And finally...Jim... the reason for my very long comment... you have caught a very meaningful photo which has obviously caught some attention and generated much thought. So, for this, congratulations...well done.

Reza Shadpay
you will excuse my poor English

Jim, Hello and Thanks for visiting my portfolio.

Regarding all you said, ... Jim, you are a tourist, you have seen many people, many countries, many cultures, ... I shame to write for you as an experienced. But suppose your little brother has a conversation with you. Daniel, you too, please accept me (and these words) as your brother.

People are different as cultures are, even sometimes in a same home and same parent two brothers don't become like each other. You were in Tunisia, I have a question, were all Tunisian like these two boys? Is it right you sit in judgment and dictum that their behavior was seriously and I have this right to share this photo to show all people around the world, that, Tunisian are impolite, they have bad behaviors whit tourists, they tell all welcome somehow they told me.

No, dear friend, I'm still 100 percent disagree whit Daniel, firs it's very nice we believe we all are same, borders and geography made different, I think they are my little brothers as I think you are my brothers too. We are human, we are BEST creature in the world. So where is the meaning of forgiving? forgetting? Did you try to tell them this is bad behavior, did you explain them WHY? did you take time to speak with them, make friendship? Did you ask yourself WHY they did this act? You wrote for me "children today are exposed to a lot of insanity on satellite TV and the internet which they integrate into their own lives", yes I'm agree, so which channels and programs show this sign, Teach! these acts? you are not agree with me 90% of Hollywood movies are full of these actions? Sex, Discourtesy, Violence, and so on. Are you agree with me 90% of satellite channels are full of these? look at Fence channels, Sex, Italian channels, Sex, German channels, Sex, Violence, American movies, Sex, Violence, ... So how you expect children all around the world show these channels and stay clean. I think these products! even have effect on all ages, men and women. Have you seen any, any like this on Tunisian TV programs? I don't want to say, ALL American and Europe channels are worst, no, but this is true, most they are. You wrote me " "it is the failure of parents" yes, maybe!, 50% parent are responsible, another 50% is WE as a Tourist, (at least as a responsible human) we come to their country, their culture, we come with OUR thought, our culture, because this exactly Daniel is in right," I certainly wouldn't want to see kids running around the U.S.A. flipping off tourists from other countries ", We come with our past, we expect to see what we LIKE what we want or at least, what we think is Right. Because these I say you and Daniel are in wrong.

This is a true that East has an oldest culture than West, somewhere like America has only 200 years age. Iran, where I am, has at least 3000 years age of culture, when there wasn't any thing in the USA, or when people in Europe didn't settle in cities we had university, hospital, government, and ... even gutter (waste water system) in our cities. Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, and ...
But now... come and see, their culture on the wane. When a tourist, wisdom tourist, with some knowledge of history come to visit these and like these countries, expect to see what he/she has read about it. Because this you see something that make you upset, No ... hear these words from me, all that 3000 starry years had finished! somewhere is sunset and another where sunrise!( you have visited Iran, what you saw is that you read about Iran in history? no, all that people gone with their history, let live in present, not in past)

Fortunately today, communications and technologies destroyed borders, and now a person in Uganda easily will know what is happening in Canada. People are more close to each other, culture mixed, and the world become a village! I can forgive my neighborhood mistake, if you believe they are your Brother so you as an older, must be forgive them, if not, you and Daniel think we are from west, they are eastern, I'm white they are ..., I'm Jewish, theyare ..., I (M.Reza) have nothing more to say!

Hope someday, we say, we are HUMAN, not put the NAME of SOMEWHERE we live on our self! Iranian, American, Indian, German ... we are Human, are we less than a small bird who fly over seas and lands and feel all of these are for me. We are Human, the BEST created of God, we can't think like that small bird? destroy borders, erase these names from our self.

This is Dream?! Ok, If you don't like think like this, at least when you faced something bad or good, do not attach that to a culture or whole people from that country!

With Respect

Paul Chepikian
Hate, racism, flipping the bird, they are all learned behaviours, we are not born with them. How sad, that in any culture, we teach our children these things either directly or by example. We are all brothers and sisters and if we're lucky, the day will come when we will all know better. This is not a reflection on Tunis but rather, the world. Regardless, a great image that has people communicating.

Paul Chepikian
Mohhamad: There is hope for the world as long as we all keep talking. As far as I'm concerned, we are all children of the world, not of any particular country. I am a Greek/Armenian, born in Jidda, Saudi Arabia. Raised in Beirut, Cairo, Paterson, New Jersey, New Haven, Connecticut and now live in Southern California. The world is my home and it's residents my brothers and sisters. Nice chatting with you, my friend. Go in Peace.

Reza Shadpay
Dear Paul I'm agree with all of your words but this is not racism, this is a recation and feedback of what movies teached them. Why we can't learn of birds? Regards.

Lukas Hejtman
great, it is full of life

Ken Collins
We're #1! I like the photo. Sure, it isn't the most polite of gestures but when I was that age my friends and I would have had a similar reaction to a stranger with a camera. Jim, I would also like to say thanks for the nice words on my portfolio.

Frank Marshall
Wahahaha!! Sending a message to Bush?

Jim Downs
Frank, I don't mind being the messenger:)

Maria Paula Langer

Jim Downs
I agree Anthony. We were communicating in a playful sort of way and I took it as a "just trying to be cool" gesture. I never felt in danger or felt like they were going to grab my camera gear and run. I only hope that neither they nor I buy into our leaders' less playful forms of aggression.

Mark Pennell
Full of Life I saw nothing but positive in this photo. I think it simply says two things ... It is great to be alive! It is great to be a kid! Anything that could put that kind of smile on a kid's face can't be all bad :)

Anthony Amorteguy
Great This is very indicative of a modern documentary photograph. Very good image, tough one to capture. There are a lot of good points to be made, but they have been made above in previous posts. So, I'm just sending my kudos. However, I wouldn't say that this is a true F.U. from the boys. They are having to much fun for me to see to any negative in their boyish playfulness. If you want that true F.U. feeling, the first image that comes to mind is the famous shot of Johnny Cash.

Jim Downs
I was setting up to do an image of the monument in the background. They were playing football (soccer, as we Americans say!) off to the right. I made eye contact with one of them and waived my camera indicating I'd like to take their photo. The next thing I new they were playfully running toward me flashing the bird. I instinctively starting snapping the shutter. Once they got very close, I lowered the camera and we grinned and laughed at one another. They soon went back to there game. I'm sure someone had taught them that this a way to taunt an infidel but once they saw that I was not going to take offense to their gestures, each of us went our own way. I didn't feel threatened nor did I feel a need to assume a defensive posture. I took it as 12 year old boys being 12 year old boys, although, in many ways, it is sad that youth in many parts of the world, seem unabashed about being confrontive toward those from cultures different than their own.

Joost Leijte
Very interesting picture While browsing through your excellent portfolio, this image catched my eye. Not only do I like it because of its nice composition and color tones, but especially because of the strange contrast between the kids gestures and their happy faces. I wonder what happened just before this pic was taken. Kind regards, Joost

Jim Downs
Tunis Welcome! On my first day in Tunis I was setting up my tripod to photograph the background monument and adjoing plaza when a group of boys playing soccer decided that they should be the focus of the photo

Next Image >>