500

The Art of Photography and Photography as Art


2015 – Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm


This blog post is a milestone of sorts, it marks my five hundredth blog post.  It began on a sad note, with a photo from my maternal grandmother’s funeral, it has been more of a photo journey rather than a photo blog, more about myself and the photos than about the photos themselves I suppose, so it’s rather like a journal…almost… of sorts.

On this journey I’ve learnt a lot, with still much more to learn, I’ve met many other people with a passion for photography, and many who love to look at beautiful imagery.

I have learnt that there is a difference between the Art of Photography and Photography as Art, and I believe that it is a realization that comes to most of us who pursue it with an aim for creating “art”.


2010 – Canon T1i, Sigma 18-270mm


It sounds presumptuous even to my own ears to refer to anything that I produce with the camera as “art”, but people like my friend Nikhil would thump me behind the head for even saying that.  Not everything I take can be considered as art, so I humbly submit that I have a few that may be taken into consideration by those who are more knowledgeable than myself and more in-tune with the art world to be judged and pronounced as art.

Nikhil would also tell me that I have had work exhibited once at the National Gallery of Art (Castellani House) and have also been among the finalists in two of the recent Guyana Visual Arts Competitions, so I can’t get away with trying to play modest about being called an “artist”.


2011 – Canon Rebel T1i – Tamron 18-270mm


I began as most of us probably did with learning to use the camera and just snapping away at anything and everything that caught my eye.

After a while it began to be more important to learn and understand the art of photography, to understand how light plays an important part, where paying attention to composition results in a much better photo of the same subject.  The art of photography is to know your camera (whether it’s a mobile device such as cellphones or a larger DSLR) to learn what it can and cannot do, and to know how to use it to accomplish what you want.  Like any craftsman worth his salt, the art of the craft is the union of the person and the tools at hand.

It is good to learn different techniques, different approaches, different styles; that can be part of your arsenal, but it need not define the photograph you take.


2012 – Canon T1i, Tamron 18-270mm


The photograph is an extension of your self, it is a product of your own thoughts and skills, when the photograph stops being just a snapshot and becomes an expression of an idea, a concept, more than just a moment frozen in time, then it is possible that you have created a piece of art.

Photography as Art has to be more than just a pretty photo of a pretty scene or even a technically perfect photo of a dilapidated house, for a photograph to be Art it should have soul, it should convey an idea, elicit a reaction from the viewer, it has to be seen, talked about, appreciated or ridiculed even.


2013 – Canon EOS 60D, Tamron 18-270mm


Not many of us in Guyana can successfully claim to be original in our photographs, most of it has been done before and by better artists than ourselves, Photography as an Art has to overcome the fact that everyone now has access to a device that captures images, and in the maelstrom of images swirling around the internet we have to produce a piece that stands out, that makes people stop and look, but also to have them remember it afterwards, to recall it and speak about it.

Art is subjective, that’s basically saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it is not enough for the creator of the piece to want it to be art, the viewer has to appreciate the piece, not necessarily from the perspective of the creator but from how it affects them.


2014 – Canon EOS 6D, Canon 24-105mm


All the images in this post are “new to you”, they are from the six years than span this blog, 2010 to 2015, one from each calendar year.  I went through the files looking for images that I have overlooked, or just not processed,  not looking for any subject in particular, but for images I think worth processing, worth sharing and reflect what I would like to show others.

I hope that at least one strikes your fancy.

Click on each one to see them in their respective galleries in the Collection.  Thank you for being a part of my journey so far.


We own

There is much of our country Guyana that I have never seen, and, quite likely, may never see; but I was reminded recently that it is something that is inherently ours, it was not bequeathed to us by God nor are we the only ones who think that we have a right to it.

Venezuela has always laid claim to a significant portion of our country, namely the Essequibo region, and they always rattle their sabres when investors come knocking (or, as they seem to think, snooping).  Suriname also disputes the ownership of a smaller portion, the New River Triangle.  I guess that Brazil has enough land that they don’t bother claiming any from our southern regions, but they are invading us with their people and culture, so that might be a far easier path for us… less painful at any rate – come to think of it, I already prefer a caipirinha to a beer.  Everyone knows that the coastal areas suffer frequently from flooding, that’s just the Atlantic Ocean’s way of saying, it wants it’s piece too.

The great Dave Martins, who founded and lead the Caribbean band “The Tradewinds”, has probably expressed it best in his two songs that point out our pride and possessiveness of what we consider rightfully ours, “Not a Blade of Grass” and “Is we own”.  I can’t express in words enough how much I admire Dave, I grew up listening to his music, I’ve met him several times, and he is still bigger than life to me.  Just in case Maduro didn’t know, Dave Martins is we own!

I’ve seen Guyana from Moleson Creek to Charity, From Georgetown to Lethem, but that is just travelling the main road or trail; there is so much out there to see, rivers, waterfalls, mountains, villages, creeks, animals, towns… to walk through the markets of far-off villages, travel the rivers that wind throughout the length and breadth of Guyana, to listen to the dialects and cadence of chatter in the country, to hear the insects as day turns to night in little-known villages.

OK, enough babbling… I’ve visited the Essequibo coast only twice so far, the first time was in 2008, at which time I visited Tiger Island in the Essequibo River, which I was told is also referred to as the Hamburg, I had a Canon PowerShot S5 IS point-and-shoot camera at the time, but I took photos pretending I was a photographer anyway :-)  It was overcast and I was never very satisfied with any of the photos, but I was looking for a few for someone today and came across this one which I never really looked back on.

From our sandy brown water beaches to the Rupununi plains… Is we own!  From the minister in government to the vaquero herding cows… Is we own.  From the rivers, great and small, to the mountains wide and tall… is we own!  From the tops of the rainforest canopy the the roots of the mangrove tree… Is we own!  Guyana is we own!


Canon PowerShot S5 IS, 2008


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with many other Black and White photos.

2015 Deck – Week 09

This blog is now 5 years old…. it doesn’t feel like it. Today I am feeling somewhat introspective….


 

I am not my parents…

I am not my ancestors…

I am not a representation of one particular political party or the other, of one race or the other, of one ideology or the other…

I am the debris upon our coast, that which is a product of the actions of others, whether deliberate or accidental.

I have been cast upon the shore, faithfully placed or carelessly thrown.

I have been left on my own, to survive or perish.

I may be strong or I may be weak, but mother nature will still prevail.

I may be solitary, or in the company of others…

I am the debris upon our coast.


 


Click on the image for a better view in the Gallery

2015 Deck – Week 08

Each week it is hard to make a choice of a photo for the Deck Project, mostly because its hard to separate the emotion involved with the image at the time of it’s being taken and the merits of the image itself, but for Week 8 of 2015, I think it’s mostly because I think to myself that I came away from that week, which was mostly Mashramani images, with what I thought of as very uninspiring and “average” images.

Seven weeks later and I was finally able to look at them and chose one that I felt was different, or maybe just not the “usual” of the crop.

Am I happy with it? Yes.  There are quite a few that I’m happy with, but it seems to me that I now want a little “more” from my images than just the “pretty picture”.  I’m not there yet, but I’ll keep trying.

Context:  this reveler was very close up behind the truck, it was 3 in the afternoon, although the sky was partially overcast, the sun was shining nicely down on the parade at this point.


Canon EOS 60D, Canon EF24-105mm f/4L


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.

How we do it

A street photograph – as much as I can get one :-)

It really needs very few words, but what caught my attention was the way the police officer and her companion deliberately walked diagonally off the pedestrian crossing…

In Guyana… is just suh!


2014  |  Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 17-50mm


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with some other attempts at Street Photography :-)


2015 Deck – Week 06

I almost regret using the photo “Removing the Lines” for the Four Days, Four Photos challenge that James Broscombe had set for Nikhil and I…  It is a photo that had something to say… and would have allowed me to have something to say too :-)

That left me going through the rest of my week’s haul looking for something that stood out :-)

Although I go out with hopes of getting nice landscapes or seascapes, I am usually also looking for anything else that might be useful to my own vision of my photography, and recently, I’ve been shooting some unusual scenes (for me, anyway)

This is one I think that is more Nikhil’s subject type, but not necessarily his style, There was something about the way the shadow fell that caught my attention, and then the way the shadow changed as the surface upon which it fell changed made me look again.

In this light (no pun intended) I was drawing a comparison to the way our actions and our attitudes to others often elicit different reactions and responses from each person, while we cannot control or even predict how others react to what we say or do, we should be observant of that reaction, so that we may learn from it, and be aware of it for future reference.

All shadows are not equal, and each shadow changes with the surface upon which it is cast, sometimes the shadow is sharp, and defined, at other times it can be diffused or even murky.


Canon EOS 6D, Canon 24-105mm  |  1/320s, f/10, ISO200


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with the other images so far from this year’s Deck Project.


Message

In the larger picture, the broader landscape, what is the message?

Is there a message in the bottle, or is the bottle the message?

Do we read the message, do we even notice the bottle?


2015  |  Canon 6D, Canon 24-105mm


Click on the image to see it in the Seawall Gallery in the Collection