I don’t need a thousand images to make me happy. I just need a dozen. I am super frustrated looking through the thousands of digital images which I snapped without the worry of wasting film, trying to select and delete them. What the hell? I don’t need this pain! This is another one of those times when I just feel like giving up all my digital cameras and concentrate on film.
I am already using digital cameras much like I am using my film cameras without snapping mindlessly and constantly previewing. But somehow, they still end up thousands. I understand the advantages of digital cameras in capturing action and expressions, the supreme advantage of clean high ISO for lowlight shooting, but I still prefer film.
The limitations of film cameras, the lack of film choices today made the craft of photography more enjoyable. Yes, “craft” is the word. It’s not just about moving your finger behind the computer to get what you want with some sophisticated photo-imaging software. It’s about a lot more hassle (and fun!).
After so many years in photography, I still get more “wow” pictures from a roll of 12 or 15 shots from a medium format camera than a memory card of images. I end up happier shooting film than digital. I don’t need the previews, they are distracting. I don’t need batteries. Remembering to charge them up and the fear of not having enough batteries for the day is painful. I carry “enough” film for the day and if I finish them, I stop. It’s no longer about “missing the moment” but “capturing the shot”. Like I said, I don’t need the thousands of repeated, similar, mindless, mediocre images to make me happy.
But the mindset of shooting digital makes you keep wanting to shoot more, shoot another frame, just in case. And so, we end up with 3-4x more images than usual, maybe more. We lie to ourselves we are good when we post a worthy shot out of a few hundred lousy shots. The only person who knows the truth is the photographer.
The above shot was taken last week at a waterfall with my Mamiya m645 and I accidentally fell into the water with my camera. The first thing which crossed my mind when I got out of the water was “Thank God I wasn’t shooting with my digital cameras!” The Mamiya m645 is a fully mechanical camera and it operated just fine after I dried it with a towel. (It was just a quick dip but a non-weather-sealed electronic camera wouldn’t have survive it.) I continued on with another roll.
Having said all that, I know my digital cameras still come into good use for some commercial purposes. I am always treading on the thin line of pleasing myself and my clients. And I am thankful that most of my clients don’t really care what I use to shoot with. They just want “The Images”.
Sometimes, you don’t need a reason why you love a photograph. It’s just like sometimes, you don’t know how to explain why you love someone, why you like something or why you enjoy certain moments in life. God gave us two sides of the brain, the right side for emotions and creativity, the left side for rationalization in which everything must come with a reason. Just imagine if you live life entirely on rationalization, how would life be for you? (vice-versa of course)
But in photography or paintings, I find that there’s really no absolute way to explain why you love a photograph or a painting. I have taught many students photography by now, but I still find that there’s something in photography which can never be taught. It is what’s deep inside you. Your character, personality and the way you express it.
A sharp eye can often tell a photograph that’s made from the heart apart from a photograph that’s made from the mind.
I love the photograph above. Maybe it’s because I grew up with a dad who’s often not around. I remember my grandma being the closet to me when I was young, and then my two sisters who are much much older than me.
My memory of my dad consists of certain times when he would bring us swimming at the old East Coast Park Lagoon in Singapore, early hours at the Singapore Botanic Gardens where I picked up tadpoles home to see them turn into frogs (probably my mum’s idea), and the rest of it are probably scoldings when I turned Christian during my teenage days.
I guess my dad is not too bad after all cause I still have some memories of him spending time with the family.
Today, I am a dad myself, pretty much a “hands-on dad” (recently got lazy though). I was the first one to hold his little palm when he was born, and I pretty much stick around him most of the time. He’s six now. Time flies.
I love the intimacy in the image above. The silence, the quietness, the look in their eyes. It’s as if their thoughts are crossing each other, communicating in silence. Jun Ching and Michelle, thanks for making this picture happen!
Father’s Day is coming on the 17 June, I am launching a promotional portrait session for all fathers here! For RM200, you will receive a studio session which includes one framed portrait free. For more information, please contact me at email@example.com or call me at +6012 636 2128. Promotion ends 30 June 2012.
Sometimes, good stuff comes last minute… I suddenly feel like giving a promotion… A Studio Portrait, 8 x 10 inches, framed with wood and glass for Mothers for only RM200 for the 1st 8 customers who book the portrait session with me!
Valid only on May 12 (Sat) and May 13 (Sun). OFFER Extended till 31 May 2012!!!
To ALL the mothers in the world, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day! Your sacrifices are beyond what words could describe!
It’s my pleasure to photograph this local artist. Here’s his current website which is yet to be updated: http://www.khylune.com/
I love to photograph people as they are, in total unawareness (or at least it seems to me) of a camera pointing at them. The expressions are priceless to me. Most people just look different when they look at a camera lens pointing at them. We live in a culture which taught us to “pose” for the camera. Too often times during photography sessions, I hear parents calling out to their kids to say “cheese”. We need to be taught to observe the natural, to catch the priceless moment, to “respect” the ambience.
The trick in good portrait photography is staying quiet. Many things can’t be taught and it has to be caught. The gut feeling of pressing the shutter is one of them.
I have not been writing much as I have been quite reclusive. So sorry, everyone. I hope you’ll still stay with me through my journey in life, watching me grow as a person, as a photographer, as a teacher, and maybe as a friend as well. I thank all of you who has been motivating or correcting me through your comments both in facebook and in my blogs. I’ll do my best to share what I know as much as I can.
Happy Belated Mothers’ Day to ALL you mothers out there!!! You have the special calling which we men will never have. And you experience the unspeakable joy from pregnancy to breastfeeding and watching your baby grow which we fathers will always feel that missing link between us and our baby. I did try making my baby suck my nipple but that didn’t work! Hahaha……..
Photography as an ART is emotional! You photograph what moves you. You photograph that which makes your blood rush inside you. You photograph that which makes the pores of your skin tingles. You photograph what drives you. You photograph what you MOST love.
If you love something or someone, you will photograph it/him/her.
At least, that’s my belief.
When you have problem pointing your camera at someone real close to you in your life, it shows some relationship struggles/entanglements/problems you need to confront. Well, at least that’s for me.
Photography NOT just helps me discover about my surroundings BUT helps me discover about myself. I thank God for photography. He speaks to me in photography.
There is no substitute for the person I love and respect in the above photograph. Not ever.