Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The other side

At times it is necessary to go over the top. How else can we get to the other side? - Kobi Yamada

It feels like one project after another, one mountain to scale after another. I am building walls of sand against a rising sea tide. At this point of time it seems that I have built a career and have a path in front of me but like I once said in my doctoral thesis, 'The more I learn, the less I know.'

There has been so much learning and trying in the last 6 years and at this point of time, it seems that there is even more to master, with digital workflow, color management, asset management and photoshop techniques. The goal seems simple, to make the best images that I can, but even defining which image is the best and how it should look takes a long process of introspection and knowledge of the work that has gone on before me and the work that is being produced by my peers. This mountain of tasks and knowledge, has the ability to make one freeze in fear, pinned down with way too much to consider. And yet an unconsidered and undisciplined approach brings self-indulgent, superficial work.

In a room of snakes, you just got to concentrate on killing the snake closest to you. You move on a little and kill the next snake.

I am sorry as it is hard to describe the place that I am in at the moment, leaving an apparent safe-haven to embark on a journey of toil and unknown perils. And yet, I feel excited by what I may encounter. I know that the learning and experience that I am undertaking will make me grow. Sometimes my friends tell me that I look tired, but I am happy with this toil. Sometimes my body has ached after exercise, and I know it is the ache of being alive.

Death is really the only thing to fear but it will come whether we fear it or not. I may fail to become the photographer that I feel I should be. I may achieve it and retire, opening a coffeshop instead. Whatever, I will fill my life with goals and journeys that bring me new experiences and hopefully more wisdom. I just have to keep on climbing those mountains as long as I have the strength, because I want to get to the other side.


kiampa said...

i think this makes a nice companion piece to your other entry about waiting for grace...faith always is such a big part of this, even opening the kopi tiam can be a religious experience as well!!! (especially if you are one of those crazy businessmen with strange ideas that somehow will sell...)

pfong said...

I like the tilted horizon on this. Perfect for the composition. I'm so hung up on getting the horizons level, that I'm not sure I could break out of the box and do somthething like this :-)

- A fellow traveller.

Heng said...

Kiampa: On some level, all our lives are just waiting for grace. The fact we live and get up each morning on this lonely planet is a miracle. So my logic instructs me to simply go on. It is not so much faith, as surrender to the flow of life.

Pfong: Our best work is usually the one's with beginner's luck, where we are fresh and hungry to photography. Knowledge and education can be a cage as well as a foundation. So sometimes we have to die to the beliefs we hold so dear, so that we may be reborn with new sight and insight.

Each time I travel, I have pushed myself with equipment or film that I am unfamiliar with, hoping that in deep water, I learn how to swim in new ways. :)

Jaizki said...

Nice picture, it looks like underwater to me, it has a very nice feel to it.

It's amazing to read you ngiap heng, you seem to be somebody looking for answers all the time but the way you ask looks like a statement, it's like if you had all the answers already but you are looking for the foremost truth somewhere else. I agree with most of what you write, and even if the path is difficult is worth suffering along the way because that's better than not being aware of the path at all. On the other hand we are very lucky to be able to ask this things to ourselfs because the rest of the things in life are provided already. Hope you find your way, or should I say enjoy the ride

Heng said...

Hi Jaizki,

Thanks for your comments. I am basically a lazy person and I feel a struggle in many things. Yet it is the nature of a person living life well to continue working, struggling and searching.

What I am sure of is not my art. What I am sure of is that my path is to work, struggle and search. And in this knowledge, it brings me peace, because It is just what I have to do to grow as an artist. No pain, no gain.

pfong said...

Hi Heng,

I just saw your exhibition at Citilink Mall. I've seen some of those pictures before here on your website, but they take on an added impact seen large.

I especially liked the colour tones starting off from the bluer tones on the esplanade side, to the warm yellow tones in the middle, back to blue and ending in a final coda of red. The subtle colour tones of the range of pictures comes across well.

pfong said...

btw, by an odd coincidence the Culture Vulture coloumn in ST's Life did a mention of your exhibition on Feb 14, the same day I saw it.

Heng said...

Hi Paul, thanks for stopping by the exhibition. You are the 2nd person to tell me about the mention in the paper but I did not get to see it.

I was up till 4am in the morning printing my first set of Rajasthan pictures for exhbiting at Citi Link. To me they really rock!! They will make the Sicilian photos look a bit boring unfortunately. They go up End of March. Look out for them.

ShutterBug said...

I like it: "the more we learn, the less we know"

can't wait to see your Rajasthan prints in Citilink

Have a good trip man! :)

sunflowr said...

Hi N.H, how are you? It was great to see your italian pictures today at Citilink (where i got to know about this blog). I share your thoughts.. and love your pictures. They're like.. classical music..provokes my imagination.

Heng said...

Hi Sunflowr,

Thanks for your comments. I am glad you like the photos. I have the space at Citilink till the end of the year and will be changing stuff periodically. Do keep a look out.