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This report is taken from PN Review 106, Volume 22 Number 2, November - December 1995.

Veni, Video, Vici Lawrence Sail

Travellers and tourists vary considerably in their attitudes to what Tennyson called, in a somewhat different context, 'the dirty nurse Experience'1. In their efforts to record what they see, they often go to considerable lengths - sometimes too far, as in the case of the visitor to southern England last year who, clamped to the viewfinder of his camcorder and intent on capturing the sweep of the landscape at a clifftop, dectded that a step or two back would give him a better picture… Less drastic, but thought-provoking in its way, was what I saw the same summer at one of Romania's beautiful painted monasteries, the one at Voronet. A fellow visitor crossed the threshold into the interior of the church with its richly decorated walls, walking a little clumsily, with one eye closed and the other enclosed in the rubber socket of his camcorder. He proceeded to film as thoroughly as he could, taking in as many angles and images as possible, diving briefly out of the machine every so often to check that all was well, before finally walking backwards to the door, the machine still going. A moment later and he was gone - taking with him what would with luck be a striking record of what he had seen; or rather what he had not seen, except through the eyepiece of the camcorder. It is easy to understand his wish to encapsulate his experience in a way which would enable him to share some idea ...


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