The tools are immaterial, the resulting piece is what's most important.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What A Shame

Two packs of cigarettes a day and the strongest whiskey,
That's the recipe to put him down on his hands and knees.
I watched it all up close, I saw a side of him he never showed.
Full of sympathy for a world that wouldn't let him be.
That's the man he was, have you heard enough?

What a shame, what a shame,
To judge a life that you can't change.
The choir sings, the church bells ring. So, won't you give this man his wings?
What a shame to have to beg you to see we're not all the same.
What a shame..

There's a hard life for every silver spoon, there's a touch of grey for every shade of blue.
That's the way that I see life.
If there was nothing wrong then there'd be nothing right.
And for this working man they say could barely stand, there's gotta be a better place to land.
Some kind of remedy for a world that wouldn't let him be.

God forgive the hands that laid you down.
They never knew how much a broken heart can break the sound and change the season.
Now the leaves are falling faster, happily ever after.
You gave me hope through your endeavors and now you will live forever.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Storming the quiet streets

It was a gloomy Saturday morning, when 3 dudes decided to storm the streets of Pudu shooting everything in its way. Yes, it was the normal weekly shutter therapy again. Lately, I have been filled up with tonnes of mixed and unwanted emotions which I shall try to keep it to my own and not to flood any of my posts here no more.

Back to shutter therapy, though it was a gloomy day, it did not stop us from shooting. No sun, more clouds = more people on the streets. But my goal of that day was to frame everything and anything around not only people. Oh, and check other previous posts for the rest of the photos.

A true photo enthusiast will go places no one will just to get the perfect shot.

A cheap yet usable "No Parking" barrier.

Best way to keep your helmet safe, hang it above you.

What a way to start a day - reading newspaper

Thinking where to go, uncle?

Work, work and work. No shortcut for good life.

Rusty gears. Not Rustie gears, my gears are still fine.

Tools. Yeah, the tools are immaterial, the resulting piece is what's most important. Sound familiar, look up the top of my blog.

This guy was friendly enough to show off some "skills" pouring chilli?? Yea yea

This was what he was cooking. La la, my favorite. I shall return there and try it.

Old man with a big rear end..err I meant old car with a big exhaust pipe

Keep on stacking

Wheel-less and abandoned

Old man with a umbrella stick as a walking cane. Nice

Cleaning chicken legs.

Obviously the dump hole isn't big enough to fit everything

Something I wish I could do on a gloomy Saturday morning.

Wow, apparently it doesn't look that high. The techniques of photography

3 legged

The owner decided to go bare foot

I've gotta admit, these guys are pro. I watched him peel few onions in like seconds

Another safe way to secure your helmet, hang it by the rubbish bin. People are unlikely to steal rubbish. Do they?

Skinning of the fats.

The moment of truth, live or die

Ham Jin Peng

More skillful hands

Nasi lemak for sale

Easily satisfied

Chinese herbs

Trashing the trash bins.

This char kueh teow uncle was so happy that I took his cooking, saying that it will appear in the papers. Sorry la uncle, only appear in blog.

To conclude the weekend street shooting, I had the courtesy to test the new Olympus E5.

Of course, not forgetting the little fella, the Sony NEX


What really makes the difference in photography?

What really makes the difference in photography? The photographer or the gears? It is how one sees the world. That really sounds simplistic but that is the key.

In order to capture the magnificent, one must see it as magnificent. It does not matter whether the subject is a snow-capped mountain or a heap of rubbish, a photographer sees something uniquely magnificent in the subject.

The subject may be magnificently beautiful or magnificently ugly; but it has a meaning that the photographer tries capture beyond the mere recording of objects and place.

The best photographer sees the subject as a picture in the mind long before the camera is focused to capture that subject. To a photographer looking at a subject is looking at the possibility of capturing that subject. The mind's eye will frame, edit, and freeze the subject before the camera is raised.

Photography is painting, drawing, or composing with a different medium or instrument. Looking at a photograph is looking at the photographer.

Great photographs trigger an emotional response in the viewer. Recently however, advances in digital technology have made the field seem much more complicated.

Advanced software applications and the rise of HDR photography have taken the focus away from the moment when the photograph was taken. Photographs can now be endlessly manipulated using computers.

The single most important element of producing good photographs is to exercise your photographer’s eye regularly. Some photographers just seem to have the ability to capture the moment and it doesn't matter if this is done with a throwaway instamatic camera or a 40,000 ringgit digital miracle. Their ability stems from an instinctive understanding of the rules of composition (and how to break them in a positive way) and an understanding of how light works. Anyone can produce a good photograph simply by chance if they take enough shots.

Good photographers not only produce good photographs, they consistently produce good photographs and do it in conditions that others struggle with. They do this by constantly practicing and by learning from their mistakes.

You have to let yourself be guided by your 'inner senses' instead of following mere rules. It is when you are just about to take the shot that you feel as if your hands are guided by some inner feeling and you just KNOW that the picture you are about to take is going to be nothing but spectacular. A lot of people rely these days on digital photography so that they can throw away their bad shots if they have to. People often ask me the following: How do you know that your picture is going to turn out great before you hit the shutter button? All I tell them is: I just know before I take the shot.

Now you might ask: But aren't there enough rules you can follow that will make you a better photographer? And indeed, there are so many useful rules to learn and follow, e.g. the rule of thirds, i.e. dividing your picture in thirds, the rule of using focal points to position your subject and etc.

However, there is no substitute for using and developing your own intuition in photography. As with all arts, photography is all about seeing the beauty. You cannot confine beauty to any set of rules. Beauty can never be adequately described by words or rules as it is far beyond words and rules. Beauty has to be SEEN and FELT. Without intuition your photograph might be perfect according to the rules but might just lack that special element to set it apart from the millions of good photos out there. Many people have great intuition but stop making use of it at some point in time.

So, you might ask now: Do we need then need all those rules since we already have the intuition to guide us? Certainly do we need them. As strong as your intuition may be, you still need rules to guide and tame it. As powerful as your intuition is, it needs to be controlled. Like a beast that you don't want to let run wild, intuition without training will be useless and result in random successes. However, if you lock this 'beast' into a tight cage by limiting yourself by rules, this strong beast will start to grow weak and less powerful and will do less and less work for you until it eventually dies. The answer is simple: Know the rules, but let YOUR intuition guide you. In the same way you cannot use your talent and intuition without knowing a few rules. However, rules are NEVER a substitute for using your intuition. Following rules is so simple, even a robot can do it.

So try this: Walk through this world with an open eye and let the beauty of it capture you. It could be the beauty in people, animals, great landscapes or even small things. Let it have its impression on you. It will shape you and you will discover your intuition for photography. The next time you want to take a photograph, try not to think about what is the right way to take it. Rather ask yourself next time: What captures my senses here? Sometimes you have to break rules.

The human intuition is such a powerful instrument in arts. It gives a piece of art this certain, unique touch to set itself apart from the mass. It is the photographer's vision of the subject and the viewer's interpretation of that vision that makes a great photograph.


The Photographer, Photographs and Photography

Society is disillusioned with the assumption that pictures are perfect; that is, that what is captured on camera is as objective and truthful as anything can be.

The camera, so to say, is simply a portable extension of our eyes that captures images we may otherwise never see, and freezes them into eternity for our scrutiny.

A photograph speaks a thousand words, but how many of them are truthful? Photography narrows our perception of the world.

A photograph, while depicting visuals that may otherwise never be seen except by those who witness them, only shows the world on a superficial level, thus making the cast of our glance all the more narrow. As the audience, we are at the mercy of the artist.

Photography leaves much to the imagination. To the ignorant viewer, a photograph is but a scene. It is up to the mind of the individual to discern what events are partaking, what emotions are being felt, what words are being said, and what is happening behind what may well be a propagandistic facade. The limit of photographic knowledge of the world is that while it can goad conscience, it can, finally, never be ethical or political knowledge.

A photograph is often a representation of what one wants you to see. A photo can only delve so deeply. It is knowledge, but knowledge at bargain prices. What you see is what you get.

Photography makes us feel that the world is more available than it really is. Not everything is at it seems. One's understanding of the world is not furthered by the presentation of photographic evidence, rather than photographic evidence is furthered by one's understanding.

Photographs do not show us reality, but leave reality to our interpretation. While photographs fill our mental blanks, we learn what things look like and not necessarily what they mean.

If photographs provide any true knowledge, it is that of a visual stimulus, a superficial comprehension that barely scratches the surfaces. What would photographs be without captions? Merely anonymous pictures of anonymous things, anonymous places, and anonymous people.

Photography as art stems from the creative vision of the photographer.

If the photographer intends to capture a moment in time to document a birthday party or an event, that photographer will probably create a wonderful photo album to remember that day, but he/she probably won't consider their photography art or even care if anyone else does. The same holds true for photojournalists and commercial photographers. Their photography is a means to an end.

However, the photographer of fine art considers the camera in the same manner as a painter considers his brush. Essentially the fine art photographer creates art by painting with his camera.