Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Pyramid Scheme

Giza, Egypt

There’s really little reason to snap a photo of the Egyptian pyramids – the cold fact is that Giza actually provides many good reasons to tuck your camera away. With 5,830,000 images results to a ‘great pyramids’ search query it is hard to imagine that it would be possible to shoot anything unique. But that lack of originality just never deters shutter-bugs, but another factor often does.

One of the many surprises that visitors meet when they arrive at the Giza plateau is how close they are to the Cairo sprawl. Even the polluting haze can’t hide the fact that millions share a postal code with the pyramids and they are an easy commute for any local with a camel. Visit the pyramids and you will meet a dromedary. Compose a photograph and a camel will stride into your frame while its driver demands compensation. With deal making in their DNA the ultra aggressive Giza camel drivers get into the wallets of each of the thousands of daily tourists just as they have since the time of Cheops.

With everything open to negotiation, it is no surprise that most photos of these desert models start at $1US- but just try to cut the shoot off after one click. Likewise, just try to pay for a single shot with a $5US – and expect four dollars in return. Though most payments are completed with singles, the pains that camel drivers have in finding change would lead you to believe that they built the pyramids themselves. But their torment is one of thing most worthy of a photo.

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