Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy 53rd Merdeka Malaysia ! OR ?

Today's Malaysia's 53rd Birthday. I think I am living in a pretty troubled country.

(Update: just hours after this post, I read THIS in facebook. It's a racism attack in KL.)


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Choose Your Friends

"You've gotta learn to choose your friends, son." mum said.

In photography, what speaks the loudest??? Images OR Equipments?

Too often we are robed into the common "equipment chase" in the world today. Use a Leica, and you will shoot like Henri Cartier Bresson. Use a large format 8 x 10 camera, and you will shoot like Ansel Adams. When your works prove otherwise, it's no more irritating to others like Christians who kept on proclaiming Christ to others BUT live an obvious contrary life to what the Bible teaches. 

To all who just picked up photography as a hobby: BEWARE!
We have all fallen into the trap of comparing gears rather than images at one time or another. The expensive gear you own is NOT gonna make you any better than what you already are UNLESS your vision expands.

We live in a world of rapid changes in technology today. Everything must be instant. Instant noodles, fast food, 12 frames per sec, immediate digital previews. I must say to learn photography from scratch via film cameras will give you a totally different experience. You just have to live without instant previews. And you pay for your mistakes in an unforgettable way. Sometimes, going back in time is necessary.

Choosing the people you should mix with determine the direction you are taking. Are they reading your images beyond bokeh and sharpness, or can they read your feelings through your images and appreciate your style and approach? Are they telling you hurtful but inspiring truth about how you can improve your images or are they just scrutinizing on that sharpness/bokeh or dictating the way you should shoot?

Are they friends of photography OR are they friends of photographic gears?

To me, the most important part in photography is the Image. The process of making the final image IS the craft of photography. It should go beyond shutter sound, type of cameras and how sharp a lens is. The process involves more than just pressing the trigger.  

The process involves deep soul searching and boundless imagination.

In ART, there's NO apology. When you compromise, you make a lousy piece of compromised crap with no absolute direction and statement. The same goes for living our lives. We are often forced to compromise in this world we live in. There are "healthy" compromises we should make and there are the "unhealthy" ones. Which is which, I am NOT to dictate. To each has his own path to take.

But the old saying has never gone wrong, "Choose Your Friends for you become like them."

Here's a picture of a happy wanton mee seller I took some time back. I love making new acquaintances, but few are my intimate close friends.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Your Signature

I hardly do any blog-plugging as I'm not a big believer in it but this is one article I really agree with which I feel like sharing: "The Pen and The Signature"

It's an article I couldn't agree more with. When I look at my works, there is an identical signature whether I shot it with a compact, a dslr, a rangefinder or a medium format camera. The way we see things in each one of us are just different and unique. Some constantly produce images which are just so hard to accept. Whereas some constantly produce images which most of us feel awesome about. There is no finishing line in photography as I have ever mentioned. So do what you wish and have your followers or don't.

The "Ego" problem comes in when photographers begin to compare recognition, the amount of followers they have, the amount of cash they make, the amount of awards they win... BUT none of these has anything to do with Real Photography: Your Signature. You sign the way you want and you like. You don't sign to compete. The more you should not COPY others' signature. Everyone's signature has his own pride! Unless you give up your pride.

So it doesn't matter whether you shoot with a compact or a pro dslr; and whether you shoot film or digital, your signature remains the same. Some like to boast they do well with dslrs, and some boast they are disciplined photographers who shoot film, but at the end of the day, your works speak for you.

There are digital shooters I admire as well as film shooters I admire. And when I admire their works, it's not about whether it's film or digital. If your works can go beyond people seeing it as film or digital, I think you made it. Or rather, when people stop discussing over how nice the bokeh is in your shots, and what lenses you used for it... it's the beginning of people appreciating your works as art. Well at least, that's my personal benchmark. If your audience flip through your works like browsing newspapers, you should know what that means...

Lastly, a reminder to myself and to everyone: Let's Go Out and Shoot!