i am sitting in the cold, beside a severely inadequate electric heater, contemplating the excitement and the anxiety that have overtaken my life, or at least for the next 5 months.
my time in nepal so far has proven to be very enjoyable, though not without the constant self-reflection on my presence here – if that will do me, or anyone for that matter, any good.
the posts on this blog have come far too sporadically, so i think it is high time to pick up the pace a little, to share a little more. in that way, i hope to attain some clarity in my thoughts as well.
the next couple of entries will be photos from 2 weddings i photographed end of last year. then it will be all nepal.
bedtime for now.
for more of my thoughts, click here.
the above is an example of a fine art photo, if i may be so bold as to suggest that. it is blurry, out of focus, devastatingly cool, titled “untitled no.1” and you probably don’t get it.
i took the photo above while on a “photowalk” around school with yusuf earlier. to be honest, the only thing that went through my head before i adjusted the settings, framed the shot and squeezed the button was “hey, i think that will make an interesting picture!”. aiya… there, i just outted myself, dang.
i then half-mockingly (i was half-serious) tried to justify why i shot the photo the way i did (artistic statement) – city boy (in skinny pants and white sneakers) treads the line between his urban life (represented by the asphalt) and his desire for a return to nature, to a simpler place (the grassy side).
yeah, right. yusuf didn’t buy it. i didn’t either.
so we have heard of how art, in this case the photograph, can mean so many things to different people. isn’t great when the creator of the same photograph can ascribe so many different interpretations to it, and after the fact? better still, that same guy probably felt something and just wanted to shoot a pretty picture.
it seems like discussions about photography inevitably lead to the topic of fine art photography, and along with that the requisite ridicule and disparagement of that genre. i won’t pretend to “get it”. i am not a fine art student, and i don’t think you will see me rushing to join an art school anytime soon. my only academic exposure to fine art so far was to take the digital darkroom course at adm, conducted by an artist who explained that fine art can be any form of expression, provided that the vision is clear from the start and every step and detail of the process deliberate.
all this so that people can interpret his/her work however they wish. sounds complex and difficult. who makes these definitions anyway? who wants to live by them?
having said all that, i have to confess that i can be constantly found eating my own words (binging on them, as a matter of fact), so you never know.
i guess it is so easy for us to dismiss what we cannot comprehend. there is a matter though that i can’t understand, nor can i dismiss, and that is the notion that photographers have to be labeled this and that – fine art photographer, portrait photographer, press photographer, still-life photographer, documentary photographer, corporate photographer, pet photographer, fashion photographer, landscape photographer, the list goes on…
why can’t a photographer be just a photographer?
the conventional advice is that if you want to make a living at this, you can’t afford to be everything to everyone. if you really want to become good at a particular something, you got to devote all your energy to it.
but then, there are those who say that in a small photography market like singapore, you got to do a little of everything, even if that means selling your soul and murdering your conscience. who to listen to?
the solution? get out of singapore, become a fine art photographer and starve for the first few years. then win a couple of awards and get noticed by a wealthy patron or a gallerist such as james danziger. then you are all set for life.
since we are moving into rather controversial (and dangerous) territory here, i shall defuse the tension by showing you a nice sunset picture and ending this post.
“untitled no.3” (why is there an ugly canal in the scene? ans: fine art, baby)
for more on my thoughts, click here.
things come in tumbles.
point is, watch this space. there is going to be an explosion of information — content generated during the past week when i finally had to kiss my lazy holidays behind and actually get down to doing some work. not that i did not enjoy it though. i pray and hope that i get to spend the rest of my life wrestling with light, capturing moments and uncovering facts. stu maschwitz at prolost calls taking the perfect photo FML (fact+moment+light). nice acronym but can’t be further from the truth though.
also, i would like to keep this space more regularly updated. more tumbles to the people.
i am actually rather excited that school will be in session again. as usual, i psych myself and promise a semester of toil but my best friend procrastination is seldom long away on vacation. we will see.
so you will.
for more posts on my thoughts, click here.
been slightly more than a week since i last blogged and i will blame that on the fact that i am currently on reservist training, and how army camps are well known for being deserts in terms of connectivity to the outside world.
i know this is going to sound bad but it has become a real struggle when i don’t get to check my e-mails (i use apple mail with auto-update so it’s worse), fiddle with facebook or simply surf the net in search of the millions of possibly interesting articles to read and photos to look at. as a result, my down-time (quite a lot) consists of reading ‘the undercover scientist’ (actually, not a bad book), having really juvenile conversations with my bunk-mates and making the next trip to the canteen.
also, i have to now check my e-mails vicariously through sarah (thanks babe!).
at the same time, i do realise that perhaps it is not altogether a bad thing that i have been yanked out of the messy matrix that is our world and thrown into a simpler lifestyle, at least for a couple of weeks. not having a computer in front of me has actually made me realise the massive amount of time spent online in my daily life. because of all the surplus time that i now have, i get to actually catch up on sleep, as well as just think about life in general.
most of all, it is refreshing to be chatting with people face-to-face, rather than via msn or twitter. i fear that in the near future, kids will no longer have the social skills to carry out a conversation with someone in person. after all, how many of us are already msn-ing our siblings, even when they are only in the next room?
be booking in to camp tonight for another week of training. anything that is urgent kindly call or sms. till next week, adios.
for more of my thoughts, click here.
murphy’s law – anything that can possibly go wrong, does.
in all my years as a member of the national library board, i have seldom had cause to complain, except for the constant reminders i get in the mail to pay my fines.
and while i was doing exactly that this evening, everything that could have possibly gone south did go south. i was trying to pay my fines at one of the new machines located with the borrowing kiosks when my atm card got stuck. which was ok because technology is far from divine, so it does err. i then got one of the staff to help me get the card out, which she did, except that it came out with the black magnetic strip on the back of the card chipped.
i tried the ez-link card next. i stood in front of the machine like a fool for 2-3 minutes with the word “processing” flashing. you would think that after that long my fines would have been processed but no – i got the message “unable to process at this time”. what made it worse was that the amount was already deducted from the ez-link card. one of the ladies at the counter then just shrugged her shoulders and told me that there was nothing she could do because the machines are linked to some “server” (probably big brother’s matrix) and that the “computer” (ditto) will not allow me to borrow anything as my fines were technically still uncleared.
then of course, it was closing time. got to be the best in terms of resolution if you ask me. just like something out of a movie, the plot advanced by a series of unfortunate circumstances (take that, 227!).
speaking of movies, i caught “revolutionary road” at lido with sarah this afternoon. so it is true that middle america suburbia is the true asylum of asylums. not a good movie to watch if your relationship is on the rocks or if you are pondering deep, cosmic existentialist questions.
on a more optimistic note, i will be unemployed during the summer break the way things are going. applied for an internship at the strait’s times photodesk but got rejected. apparently, times are so bad that companies are turning even cheap labour away. either that or they got a waiting list a mile long. fringe benefit of being a monopoly i guess.
no problems though, i am looking forward to doing some personal work for the portfolio and just wandering aimlessly around with the camera and allowing circumstances to reveal its easter eggs to my eyes. could prove to be a fruitless endeavour but certainly more worthwhile then going up against bungling bureacracies.
to send the national library board some feedback, click here.
for more of my thoughts, click here.