Sunday, July 29, 2007

The First Week in Tuscany - Philippe Pache

Self-portait. I am happy. :)

Philippe Pache

I have not had internet access all of this week. To be honset, I was just having so much fun on course that it did not seem to matter. The weather in Tuscany is a hot summer right now. The days are long and the sun is beautiful in the evening. Great for photography. The course is being held in a monastery this year called St. Anna in Camperena. It is a really cool place to hold the course. Lots of rooms and space for lectures. Philippe's group which I was in was held in a barn. The food is pretty good. Much more vegetables than I am used to but rather healthy. Strange though the meat and ham is very fatty. Such a contrast in food.

This is probably one of the best courses for me. I guess it is also the right time for me. I have pursuing technical execellence for so long now. I am finally confident of my photographic ability, but I found that my personal reason to shoot had kind of been way laid. On this course, I was in a happy place and I enjoyed the course. I was shooting beautiful women in the Tuscan countryside and I felt at peace. It was not a male thing at all, just an appreciation of the beauty of things.

I was not that familiar with Philippe's work before the workshop. And while obeserving him shooting, I realised that I have to keep myself open and exploring. It always is so hard when you have to earn a living as a photographer. The commercial work jarrs with the personal side. But all I know is that this work that I did this week made me feel very whole, complete.

It may be another week till the next post. Ciao.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Quotes from Setting Sun

I have two favorite passages by Albert Camus, to the effect of:"Even if you could trace the course of the entire world with your finger, you wouldn't understan the world any better," and "The graceful green hill, that hand thrust toward my uneasy hear, have more to teach me about this world than anything else." I want to perceive the world from this vantage point, and I ask to do it with camera in hand. If, in the very midst of its most ordinary, mundane scens "love", say, or "fate" lies dormant under the surface, and if those noumena ar at some point connected to the world at large, then there is nothing left for me to do but continue releasing the shutter.
-Daido Moriayam

This world is the interval where something shifts from being to nothingness. Sometimes in that interval, beauty sparkles lie a solved riddle from a secret language.
-Hiroshi Sugimoto

Wandering in London

Ella and Zul at the Tate Modern restaurant

Butcher in Stratford Village

The Thames from Southwark

Wagamama at Southwark. I used to like Wagamama when I was a student. This was the worst meal that I had in London. Way too salty.

Skaters at South Bank.

Well, the week comes to an end. All good things come to an end. I love London, always buzzing with life and energy. Not everything is right, but so much life bubbling under the surface.

I am off to Tuscany tomorrow and staying in a monastery. I hear that there is not any Internet there, so the postings will be intermittent if at all. Ciao.

Japanese Man Spends $170K in Hi-Tech Dolls To Shake His Wiimote

Don't know if real women or silicon sex toys are more scary. But read about this guy spending money on 100 sex toys.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Chilling in London

Southwark Underground station.

Art on the side of a pub.

View of St. Paul's Cathedral from the Tate Modern Cafeteria.

It has been nice just chilling in London. Besides meeting up with friends and family, I have also been going to the museums. I went to the Tate Modern to see an exhibition on Dali and his work with film. So many interesting things to see, just from the trip down and back.

Window Shopping

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Photoshop Of Horrors: Here's Our Winner! 'Redbook' Shatters Our 'Faith' In Well, Not Publishing, But Maybe God - Jezebel

Photoshop Of Horrors: Here's Our Winner! 'Redbook' Shatters Our 'Faith' In Well, Not Publishing, But Maybe God - Jezebel

I need to find my faith in photography again.

Just Chilling in London

I am just chilling in London. I have been working pretty hard before I came here. I shot three jobs on the week I left. I know that the next three weeks in Tuscany will be fun, but I am sure it will be physically draining as well. So, I am taking it easy here.

I still managed to visit the Photographer's Gallery which is having a retrospective of British photographer and educator Keith Arnatt. Although not as cutting as Martin Parr, Keith Arnatt also displays a sense of dry British humour. I was at the bookshop, and instead of buying monographs of photographers I like, I bought Dialog with photography, Interviews by Paul Hill and Thomas Cooper, and Photography: A critical Introduction, edited by Liz Wells. I also later bought Setting Sun, writings by Japanese Photographers. I guess that I am feeling more confident in the technical aspects of photography, I am trying to get to a deeper understanding of the context and the process.

I went to see a massive exhibition at the Tate Britain today. It is called How we Are, photographing Britain. It was interesting to see the range of photography in Britain and what it is used for. It is not just an art photography overview, but an overview of photography in all aspects, commercial, technical, portraiture, documentary and art. And it gave me a lot of food for thought. One of them being that different photographers find different rationales for their practise. They become advocates of realism or commercial photography. And in spite of of the conflicting view points and biases of photographers through the ages, there is always a place for well crafted images, or well conceived images. My brain is churning.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Back in London

I was tired after arriving in London in the morning. I slept a bit and walked down to Portobello Road at 4pm as it is Saturday. I just brought my usual pouch and nothing else. I was not in the mood to shoot seriously, but the light was beautiful and London is charismatic as ever. I took out the ever handy NV10 and snapped, literally.

There is a certain chaos and anarchy to London. A space where people can be themselves. Such an atmosphere creates individuals. There is a lot to think about here like is there more crime and a larger divide between rich and poor? But looking simply at the people on the street, there is a diversity that is certainly photographic.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Off to Europe

I am off to Europe for 4 weeks. It is a week longer because I got an extra week at the Toscana Photographic Workshops after booking two weeks. :) I will be doing workshops with Philipe Parche, Anders Petersen and Andreas Bitesnich.

I will spend a week in London visiting brother and sister. Will write more there.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Last Shoot

The Last Shoot of Wan Sheng's internship. Thank you Wan Sheng for your help.

The Last Shoot before I depart for Europe. Muahahaha.

And my bloody #%@$#%@$#%@# Mac Book Pro hard drive dies during the shoot. And it cannot be repaired before I leave for Europe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Shit Happens. :(

Update: The Mac Book Pro was taken to the service centre and the drive was ok. The Mac Book Pro closes down when over heating and has to be manually rebooted. Duh. Ok. At least I can bring the Mac Book Pro on my trip. :)

So shit happens, and good things too.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Judy and Hiro - Formal Portraits

I was hired by Heaven's Gift to take formal portraits at the wedding of Judy and Hiromasa. I have not been to a wedding for a shoot in over two years, but it was a real different experience with the lighting for portraits. I think they are much nicer than the table to table shots don't you?

Eadwine was covering the wedding and took this image of me working. Thanks Ead. :) Where is my video documentary dude??

Errance by Raymond Depardon

I went to view Errance by Raymond Depardon at the Alliance Francaise on Monday. This was a delightful find for me. I have never heard of Depardon before. He is a founding member of Gamma and is now a member of Magnum. He has won many awards for his photos and directs movies as well. Live and learn eh?

Depardon's work is the most lyrical in all the Month of Photography exhibitions. Errance means wanderings in English. The exhibition are black and white landscapes of places that he has visited in 1999. But the choice of black and white and the way the images are printed point to more than a documentary of his travels. Depardon tends to shoot highly graphic images in high contrast scenes. Often there are no people in his photographs. In the photographs where there are people, they are in the distance or silhouetted. The way the images are printed point more to the state of mind of the photographer Depardon. He is showing a personal journey as he travels. The images share the dual purpose of showing where he wandered to as well as the experience of wandering.

I am not sure if this exhibition would appeal to many people. It is much more personal and moody. But it seems hopelessly romantic to me. He seems to be a kindred spirit of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I love it.

I really learnt a lot in this year's Month of Photography. I am happy that we have such events here. There are talks and other events happening which I cannot attend because I am away. But those of you who are in Singapore should really make use of the opportunity. =)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mac Versus PC Rap... LOL

Rob Galbraith DPI: Evaluating the MacBook Pro 15 inch LED-backlit display

Rob Galbraith DPI: Evaluating the MacBook Pro 15 inch LED-backlit display

I bought the Intel Duo Core Mac Book Pro and have been struggling with the screen. And now Rob Galbraith has confirmed that the screen is more or less not amenable to calibration! But there is a partial solution to the problem in the article as well!

If the computer screen is where you edit, get the new LED-backlit display. If you want to buy a second hand mac book pro, skip the Intel mac ones.

Dance Photographers

Jaizki dropped by my blog and introduced me to Isabel Munoz who has nice dance photography. Relatively gritty stuff in black and white. Thanks Jaizki.

I thought that I would recommend a few really good dance photographers. At least in my opnion they are.

Andrew Eccles

Lois Greenfield

Sarah Silver

One of the best dance photographers in the United Kingdom is Chris Nash. But unfortunately his web site seems to be down. I guess that you can google for his images.

Another photographer I love who shoots dance well is James Houston whose book, Rawmoves is stunning. I am afraid I cannot find his web site too.