Thursday, September 06, 2012

Young and Free

They say that if you do not look at your photographs immediately after you took them, setting them aside for a while and looking at them much later, you will be able to "edit" your set of photographs better, because you are not clouded by false judgment based on apparent "temporary emotional connection" to the photographs that you have taken at that given moment of time. So many people have come to believe and practice that, but somehow, I do not see myself agreeing at all. I was looking at a set of photographs taken at a rural village about a few weeks ago. I am still pretty much in love with my initial selection of photographs, and my thoughts and reasoning of selecting the first filtered set have not changed. However, something interesting happened. As I look through the full set one more time, I found more photographs that I thought could have been selected in the first place. Instead of narrowing down to less photographs, I actually added MORE. The extra few that passed the second round editing process are presented in this blog entry. 

To view the original set of images, please go to the blog entry here (click). 

All images were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko Digital lenses 11-22mm F2.8-3.5, 50mm F2 macro and 50-200mm F2.8-3.5 (non-SWD). 

The Weary Path



Seated at the Edge

Wooden Platform

Sideway Motion

Walk on Splashes

Wet and Free

Clinging

Somersault. 

Grace

Watchful Eyes

Friends

Dangerous Toy

Portrait of an Orang Asli boy

Luke Chua, the friend who invited me to the village for shooting. Thanks mate !!


Some photographers are being overly ambitious, that they want their standard of work to last all ages, standing the test of time. They want to make history, and they want their photographs to shine in generations to come, hence disengaging from temporary emotional connection to their photographs, to look at the much larger picture, and toward the future. If we keep wanting to push our photographs out of its intended time and purpose, you will lose the joy of shooting, when you are actually shooting. Yes, in the future, say, one year from now, if you still decide to like the photographs that you have taken, those are probably the best of the bunch. I choose to approach photography very differently from the previous-mentioned method of disengaging yourself from the temporary emotional connection, because I believe that behind each photograph that the photographer took, there was a reason that made him click the shutter button, and many of the reasons usually involved some emotion at play. That emotion, may, or may not be temporary. Usually, the emotional connection would stay imprinted both in the photographer and his photographs for a very, very long time. Why choose to neglect the most important thing that made the photograph work? If you are connected to the photograph emotionally strong enough, your viewer might just be able to see it. It is that emotional connection, if being displayed openly enough, that makes the photographs stand out from just ordinary images. 

Take the photographs in this blog entry for example. They are surely no-where near magazine worthy or qualified to enter any competitions (not that I intended to in the first place anyway) but there is a strong, emotional drive that pushed me to shoot them in the first place. I shot them, because I was attracted to something that I saw, may it be the intense joy of living simple village life, or the freedom of childhood, being carefree and wild in a small community, situated far away from urbanization. The motivation that drew my attention to capture those shots will not change, no matter how I choose to separate myself from the images. I choose to get involved, I choose to stay connected, because I wanted the intimacy and closeness to my subjects in my shots. 

The most important thing is to love what you are doing at the moment, at the time you are actually shooting, not one year from now, or ten years from now. It is important to live for the day, and put your whole self, committed fully to what you are doing at the present. It does not matter if I do not like those set of photographs in this blog entry anymore one year from now (high chances I will still love them), because for now, I have enjoyed the shutter therapy session, being out there shooting, and I love the images that came out from the session, not because those images are anything special or out of the ordinary, but those images were entirely from myself, crafted from my own vision, taken with my beloved camera, and I am very much connected to them emotionally. Honestly, the emotional connection is what makes the photography process even more enjoyable.

I think it is crucial not to take in everything we read from the elder generation of photographers blindly. Not everything is applicable to everyone, some conditions only apply to specific group of individuals, and such conditions may also change in time. We are not here to challenge or disapprove great philosophies or techniques passed down from generations before us, but if we found certain things not to work for ourselves, well, we have to accept it and adapt to suit our time and of course, our own relevant shooting style. There really is no right and wrong, just relevance and applicability, and more importantly practicality.  What works for you may not necessarily work for me, and vice versa. One thing is for sure, nothing stays the same forever, we too have to be flexible and move with the changes. Choose what works for yourself, and stay open and positive always !

13 comments:

  1. Hi Robin

    Agree with you with no reservation.

    Best Regards
    Francis from Toronto

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  2. Good morning, Robin.
    Great set of images and I love their sense of joy and freedom. It's really a country life that I used to grow up with. I am touched. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the photography. Thank you for sharing those extra images.
    May you have a great day.
    John Ragai
    Ps: John TKWong used to be one of DKSH Team and now at Olympus Malaysia.

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    Replies
    1. No worries john, it was my pleasure to share.

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  3. Hi Robin!
    Your pictures are amazing! Love the freedom and the b/w contrast!
    Thank you for sharing them with us!
    May God strengthens you!

    Lydia.

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    Replies
    1. Hello Lydia,
      thanks! I thought the black and white treatment would bring out the emotions stronger!

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  4. I agree a full 100% (more is not possible, haha) with what you wrote. Indeed there is a strong emotional connection - and your pictures show it. Maybe that's what makes them work so well (and not only from a technical perspective). I love it. Great work!

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    1. Thanks Andre !!
      I think having that emotional connection is very important for certain photographs.

      Delete
  5. Robin, emotional attachment to my own work extends to other peoples images. I often have a very visceral response to these. Your writing shows how camera work develops our personal philosophies too. Giving me an extra eye, linked to memory, imagery informs me at a deeper level than my lived experience. Isn't a photo, beyond being a record, also a complex statement about how I see the world?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts T.P. Harvey. Yes, I agree with you, a photograph is not just documentation, it is also an extension of our vision, the way the world is reflected through us.

      Delete
  6. Robin, emotional attachment to my own work extends to other peoples images. I often have a very visceral response to these. Your writing shows how camera work develops our personal philosophies too. Giving me an extra eye, linked to memory, imagery informs me at a deeper level than my lived experience. Isn't a photo, beyond being a record, also a complex statement about how I see the world?

    ReplyDelete