Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Rajasthan - Epilogue

Jodphur Fort

When shooting for clients, any clients, I am looking for creative solutions. There is a craft to this type of work but it does not feed a need inside me. There is in me, a need to be unbridled, completely without fear, completely free to shoot or not shoot. This is what 3 weeks in Rajasthan has done for me. It stopped me from being a problem solver and let me just be me. I also realized that on such a journey, I can only take companions that would give me the space to let go, or I have to go alone. When I return to work, there is a brief and expectations, but the results are greatly enhanced if a part of me is still 'free' to play and shoot as the situation developed. Photography is not a career for me, photography is my life. I do commercial work so that I can have the space, time and finances to live. The more I live, the better my commercial work is as well because I bring a life to my work that photographers who only shoot for money do not have. I guess that the ultimate dream would be to get paid for being.


I think that the two ends of photography are represented by the lomo creed and the photographers that actually know the zone system. On the one hand you have people who shoot without thinking, without framing. On the other hand you have the people that meter the zones in an image and control the process from end to end. I think that my truth is somewhere in-between, a knowledge and control that will allow me to say what I need to say. From this competence is the confidence to let the spontaneous enter the moment, to capture a moment of grace with the with the visual scope of a Michelangelo. Like flying a kite, photography for me requires a responsive tension.


The last time I felt this good about a trip was when I went to Venice by myself. At that time business was young and I was totally without worries. On this trip, it was with the help of my assistant Betty taking care of business for me and my parents keeping an eye on me that allowed me to travel unhindered by the baggage of daily life. I was also fortunate enough to find a good travel agent over the internet who provided me with a dependable driver who ensured my comfort while in Rajasthan. It took a group of dependable and kind people to enable me to be myself again. On my part, I tried to respect the people I photographed and if I promised them a photograph, I did all that I could to get them the photograph. (It is now out of my hands and in the hands of the Indian Postal service.) I think that it is important to nurture the people around you and find people that can nurture you. It is a question of cultivating real love and sharing it.

Bhanwar Niwas roof, Bikaner

As I struggled with photography, a few readers of the blog reminded me to experience the journey. Thank you for the advice for it is true. I know how to take a photograph, it has become second nature to me. As I left the fears of living behind me, the need to get a shot became unimportant. I was just taking the journey and took photographs as a natural extension of the journey. This is an important point, being there in the moment, vital, interacting with the place and people is what counts. As a photographer, the images are a by-product. I know that I did not let go of the camera completely, but I feel that I got a respectable distance along.

Rickshaw, Jodphur

Letting go of myself in Rajasthan, I realized the tough life of the people of this desert region. I sympathize with the harsh plight of these people but I also realize that I cannot be responsible for the plight of these people. Not going to the country is also not an answer in my mind for there is a legitimate help in the tourist cash. Like any other group of people in the world, there are good and bad people. So there are good and bad tourists, and there are also good and bad people in poor countries. There is no binary answer to this problem. The world will not be a better place when one group of people solve the problems of another group of people. The world will be a better place when everyone takes responsibility for themselves and the people immediately around them. We are all human and that is the best we can do. When everyone nurtures love, we can overcome entropy.

Love be with you all. :)


töes said...

Hi Ngiap Heng,

I've been following your India encounters, and time and again, i felt reminded of the motto behind Ella and Zul: let the child in you come out to play.

This, i think you have achieved as far as your trip has brought you.

Welcome back. =) Coffee soon? I've been back for a while.

Anonymous said...

"...everyone takes responsibility for themselves and the people immediately around them."

how true.

and, the self portrait speaks.


|- jX -| said...

hey, i have been checkin ur blog for some time.. so glad you have brought back so much more den juz pics from ur trip..

i now have even more respect for you not juz as an excellent photographer, but as a great online buddy.. hope you find ur purpose in life eh? cheers!

and oh, i love ur shot with the boys running with the blue sky behind them.. speaks volume.. ;p

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