Documenting real life is tricky business.
It probably would be much easier if our story was just our life alone, in some isolated way. But our lives are all tangled together with those of so many other people. To complicate matters, being in Italy means that there are also cultural tightropes as well. Let us explain.
We realize that we are never alone! Our world is made with relationships. In documenting our own lives, we understand that we are simultaneously chronicling the lives of others as well.
True to our intentions, the stories we “record” come directly from the happenings of everyday interactions. Our filming takes us through doorways and directly into other people’s lives. Still photos seem to be a bit more forgiving, since they freeze a particular moment and are much less invasive. The video camera, on the other hand, captures things exactly as they are, including dynamics and personal interactions. There’s something about life in motion that can’t be faked or formatted. Some very funny, interesting and even awkward things have happened in front of the video camera. Any of us can “act” for a brief time, but fairly quickly reality begins to creep in again. Not able to continue our mode as “actors” we return to our “real” selves where life may be much more revealing. Our “videostories” are then shared in a public format, which possibly provides something of a Yikes! factor for those involved.
It has been fascinating to observe that some people absolutely love to be in front of a camera. Others, on the other hand, clearly don’t want any part of it and will immediately say so. Those two types are the easy ones to figure out. The real difficulty rests with the ones somewhere in the middle who are uncomfortable, but can’t say no. Those people are harder to read because even though they may say all the right words and appear to be okay with everything, at some level they are not. This is where we need to exercise special care to sense the discomfort and then respond in appropriate ways.
For this reason, our “Italian Moments” videos require special sensitivity to make sure that we don’t inadvertently invade someone’s privacy or overstep their bounds of comfort, leaving them feeling vulnerable or concerned, or even slightly trampled.
We certainly do get caught up and snagged in the process at times, but we are learning as we go and hopefully getting better every day.