Sunday, May 29, 2005

Nature's Textures

Drama in the Sky, Clouds over Singapore. Posted by Hello

Have you ever looked up on a starry night and wondered at the vastness of space?
Have you ever felt small next to a mountain?
Have you felt an inner warmth as the sun rises?

It amazes me how nature inspires a whole range of emotions in me. On a day where there is an even clear blue sky I feel peace and even boredom. On a day with clouds filled with dark shadows and bright spots, I have a sense of a great conflict happening above my head.

An image is an object in itself. How an image is crafted conveys as much mood and information as the subject of the image. The recent images of the Iraq war are a case in point. Images are edited to show a successful Alliance army. The kind of shocking images from previous wars are avoided so as not to turn normal people agains the war in Iraq. A picture of clouds, although inanimate, can convey more drama.

Photographers as image makers go beyond the simple act of taking an image. By choosing to shoot under a certain quality of light adds a new and interpretive dimension to the image. A dramatic moment can be made bland and a molehill can be visually made into a mountain.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

What? Why? How?

Photography is becoming more technical in the digital age. With the vast possibilities offered by digital files and photoshop, we are able to correct photographic mishaps into decent photos and simulate a multitude analog camera effects. Hurray to the empowerment of the photographer!

Yet amidst all this imaging power, I wonder 'Why?' There are so many books, magazines and internet articles telling us 'How to' do a million and one things. None of these articles discuss 'Why' we should use such and such a technique. In my mind, what is even more important is 'What' do we as image makers have to say.

As important as technical knowledge is, it is useless without purpose. Purpose comes from the person making the image. If we need to take a simple photo for documentation purpose, a simple, clean, well exposed photo would do. If we want to create an image that communicates an idea or an essence, then we first need to understand what we are trying to say. The technique, or 'How', follows from our inner purpose. Based on the mood or idea that we are trying to communicate, 'why?' each technique or step is taken becomes self-explanatory.

So I say to image makers, 'What do you want to say in your image?'. When creating your image, 'Why do you do it in such a way?'. I think that there are people blessed with an inner vision and the ability to express their vision. For the rest of us mere mortals, the exercise of finding some inner vision, or something worthwhile to say in our images, will save a lot of wasted time, effort and money creating crap. Even with a clear inner vision, we will struggle to master the technique to bring to life our vision.

A heroic failure is worth more to me than mediocre, technically correct, vapid pictures. So many of the most moving images I love are technically flawed.

Nowadays cameras can practially take pictures for us. It is up to us, the humans, to create images, not just take snapshots for no particular reason.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

One of my favourite photographs of Singapore because it is hard to believe that it is in Singapore.
 Posted by Hello

The Start of Pond Musings

As a photographer I have always wished that my images would speak for themselves, that they can exists without explanation. Once in a while I am lucky enough to have such an image.

However, I do realise that sometimes images can convey an immediate emotional connection but fail to tell the whole story.

There are also people who would like to know more about the person behind my images and what motivates me to make them.

Thus this blog is born.