Mash 2023

Its unlikely that I’d be going out to the main Mashramani float and band parade this year, but I do enjoy seeing the Children’s Mashramani Parade (that would more accurately be the schools parade)

I’ve processed images taken last Saturday at that parade, if you click on the graphic below it will take you to the Gallery with the images (at time of publication all images had not uploaded, it was taking inordinately long to do it)

For all those heading out on the road for Mashramani, be safe, enjoy, and keep shooting!

Wide

At an early stage in my photographic journey I was fascinated by Macrophotography, the ultra-close photographs of everyday things, it seemed a completely different world seeing things that close. This would have been mostly before I started using an SLR Camera, I had a Canon SuperZoom, and I used clip-on lenses for the macro photography, quite fun at the time.

Most of my favourite photography using DSLRs have been on the opposite end of the spectrum, wider shots. I was quite attached to the combination of the Canon 60D camera body (and the 50D prior to that) and the Sigma 10-20mm wide angle Lens. Its probably no surprise that I wanted a wide lens to accompany the Canon R7, I decided to go for the (Venus Optics) Laowa 10mm, although its fully manual, it seemed the step I should take at this point.

Here’s my first photo taken using it, not meant to be anything spectacular, just tried to get a decent first shot, but I like how it turned out, a bit unsettling and intriguing to me.

Untitled – 23-0018 | Kingston Seawall, Georgetown, Guyana | Canon R7, Laowa 10mm

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

Keep Shooting folks!

Market Scenes

Following on the previous post, I just wanted to share a few more images from that day. The market is a place rich in colour, activity, people, culture, and so much more.

Some times I feel that I get too many similar shots, so many go unshared, often unprocessed, but here’s a few that made it past the processing and into the sharing category πŸ™‚

All kinds of Everything – 23-0004 | Mon Repos Market – Shot with DXO ONE Camera
Hassa, Broom ‘ere! – 23-0011 | Mon Repos Market, ECD | Shot with DXO ONE Camera
Greens – 23-0013 | Mon Repos Market, ECD | Shot with DXO ONE Camera

Click on the images to see them in the Gallery “In the Streets” along with other images. Keep Shooting.

Bootleg

Guyana, as well as the wider Caribbean, has long had problems with pirated or bootlegged music, software, and movies; I know its a worldwide problem, but I can only speak to a localized perspective.

I like to think that its lessened in recent years, with the advent of streaming and subscription services, etc., although I suspect I’m wrong. Dave Martins, leader of the famed Tradewinds band, wrote a song called Copycats, and although it dealt more with the West Indian habit of adopting foreign habits, accents and mannerisms, it nevertheless pointed out our habit of copying. Dave himself is very disillusioned since copies of Tradewinds music can be found all over, and this, of course, means little income to him in terms of sales and royalties.

In Guyana, the idea of robust Intellectual Property (IP) legislation has been floated, toyed with, promised, and neglected by several administrations, and this not only lends to the piracy but somewhat emboldens it. Without IP legislation it is extremely difficult to enforce copyright, and the government knows this, and the artists feel it, every day.

Despite a good and productive music sector, a dynamic visual arts sector, and a growing performance arts sector, IP Legislation seems but a spectre on the horizon, as seen at midnight, in a mist shrouded rainforest. As photographers we see a regular “appropriation” of our images in the local media, some photographers are lucky enough to get back from those agencies who did so, but others do not. I’ve been asked many times, and have often allowed the use of an image for no monetary recompense, but with attribution, I’ve sometimes gotten a small fee, its that kind of world.

As time has gone by, many agencies seek out the photographers, and ask permission, and offer to license the image, a positive sign in a dismal marketplace. One instance that still rankles with me is when one of my images was used for a local publication, and when the publisher was approached, I was told that it was not my image, and that I had nothing to get; I was eventually urged by a lawyer to not pursue it, as it was unlikely to net me anything in the long run.

The Bootleg Scene – 23-0001 | Shot with DXO ONE Camera

In the meantime, we can still stop and get the newest or oldest, favourite songs and movies from an assortment of vendors; and in my favour, this particular one made for a decent street photo.

Keep Shooting folks! Click the image to see it in the Gallery along with other Street Photography Images.

0001

For photographers, or I should say digital photographers, that 0001 number usually means you’ve cycled through the 9,999 actuations on your camera and you’re starting over, or some photographers actually do a reset to 0001 when they start a new year, or whatever period they decide to set for themselves. More commonly, it usually means a new camera, fresh out of the box.

Late last year, someone (or maybe a few someones) broke into the office where I work (photography is not my day-job, or night-job for that matter) and they stole my camera bag with all the gear in it, to date we have not recovered anything from that. So, after several years, I’ve had to acquire a new camera, at least one for now, I can’t quite replace what’s gone, but I’ve started somewhere. Thanks to a little saving and a lot of help from friends I don’t deserve, I got what’s essentially a mid-range mirrorless camera.

So here’s the first image from the new Camera:

23-0001 | Seascape – Thomaslands Seawall, Georgetown, Guyana – 2023

For those interested in the gear, don’t wait to be impressed…. its a Canon EOS R7, the lens I used for this image is the Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM.

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other Seawall images. Keep Shooting!

Cloth

A trip up the coast, East Coast Demerara that is (at least in my case), and you’ll probably notice that many portions are rife with Jhandi flags. These flags feature in many of my images, and likely in almost anyone’s photographs along the coast, that is what rife means, they are like Kiskadees, they’re everywhere!

I figure many people are tired seeing photos that include Jhandi flags, I still take, but don’t share as many, but sometimes, one will be just different enough to warrant sharing.

Untitled – 20-7202 | East Coast Demerara, Guyana | Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm

There were portions alone Cummings Lodge, Industry, Ogle that often had these flags, now its pretty much all Mangroves. Hope you like the image, click on it to see it in the collection, along with other images in the Up East Gallery.

This image had a slightly strange perspective, and I can’t recall why, probably something at the location, I did some perspective correction to align the horizon and the wall a bit.

Keep Shooting.

Sons of Stribog

For most people who have followed my photography for any time, they know that I have a penchant for seascapes, and especially for high contrast black and white images of those scenes. This one falls right in to those. As a matter of fact this one is the latest addition to the ongoing Oniabo series of such images.

This was taken with the Canon 60D using a Sigma 10-20 ultra-wide angle lens, this combination was my favourite; I had gotten quite attached to it, quite familiar with the ultra-wide aberrations that I could use to advantage, and I even became quite fond of some of the softness I got from multi-layered scenes.

My processing is by no means unique, and I have no secrets about it; this one was cropped ever so slightly to adjust for the horizon, it was processed in Lightroom for brightness, contrast, texture, etc., then I took it into DXO’s Nik Silver Efex for the final black and white treatment, using a High Structure harsh approach with some localised adjustments in the sky and near the koker (sluice), with a red-filter applied for the darkening of the sky. Nothing was added or removed (aka Edited), just processed for the final look.

Sons of Stribog – 20-7135 | Abandoned Koker, Lusignan, East Coast Demerara, Guyana. 2020

…the winds, the sons of Stribog, blew as keen daggers.
The earth groaned, the waters thickened, a pall of mud
lay over the fields and the very folds of
Igor’s standards shook in agony.

The Tale of Igor’s Campaign

Those kokers that just sit there off the shoreline always fascinate me, they remind me that our shoreline was once further out, and that mother nature (or the Gods, whichever ones you care to blame for it) has reclaimed it. The quote above is from a Slavic poem, the mention of the winds, the Sons of Stribog were synchronous with the look of this image, with the seemingly forceful dispersal of clouds by the winds. Weird associations and thoughts often happen with me πŸ™‚

Click on the image to see it in the Black and White Gallery, along with many other images there. Keep Shooting!

Declaration

This one has been sitting unprocessed since 2020. Its one of those image that I took, likely seeing some potential, than when reviewing initially, decided to leave it alone for the time.

For me its one of those obvious images, it is what it is, some graffiti on the seawall, nothing more, nothing less.

But, in retrospect, and maybe because of how I feel now, I can see it differently, or maybe I’m just seeing now more clearly, what it was that drew my attention in the first place.

Its a very public declaration of the love of two people, maybe expressed by only one of them, or by both, who knows? It represents a moment in time, maybe a time of deep affection, a time of a firm conviction, a time of life and love.

Not everyone feels confident expressing their feelings publicly, and each of us have our own ways of expressing ourselves, whether its our feelings or our artistry.

Annandale, East Coast Demerara, Guyana. 2020

Today marks three years since my father died. I don’t really like to mark the day, this was just somewhat of a coincidence, I was processing this image yesterday with intent to post today, and my phone reminded me this morning of the event. I prefer to celebrate the other days that mean more to me, his birthday, father’s day, and the many other days through the year. He was not a man to express in too many words how he felt, but through his actions, there was never a doubt.

Don’t be afraid to express yourself; whether through words, through actions, or through your art.

Keep shooting. Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other Seawall images.

After one time, is another!

After one time, is another! I grew up hearing this phrase, usually from my mother or grand-mother. I figure it must be a Guyanese saying, I can’t seem to find it online in any other writings. I think the basic meaning is “What applied yesterday may not apply today (or tomorrow)”

I had taken this photo in May 2020, which was a relatively short time after the COVID-19 Pandemic had struck in Guyana, the mask mandate was in force but many were still skeptical about the whole thing, in the countryside you could find many who didn’t believe it existed.

In terms of Street photography, it takes me several decision making moments to actually take photos like this, up close, and with very identifiable people (um, relatively speaking), once decided its a no-brainer, most times the shot is worth it. Afterwards, in processing, that decision still weighs heavily on me, I am never very confident in sharing many street photos, there’s something vulnerable about them that causes the hesitancy. Many a time, I’d look at the image and decide not to share, then after revisiting some time later (often years later), decide to go ahead; I figure there’s a right time for some things, and now feels right to share this one.

Half Chicken Chow-Mein! 20-0682 | Shot with DXO ONE Camera

If he had shown up at the restaurant looking like this only a few months back, the reaction of the owners/staff as well as patrons would have been quite different, but this was now the new normal. A tied handkerchief or bandana instead of the then-costly recommended N95 masks, and top it off with sunshades and a cap, in 2019 that would have screamed “Bandit”, in 2020, just someone trying to adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines and get served his order of a half-chicken chow-mein.

After one time, is another!

Keep shooting, and click on the image to see it in the gallery with other Street photos.

It is not a Vacuum

I’ve often heard, and used, the phrase “Art is not created in a vacuum” – its true, it isn’t. I was curious recently as to the origin of the phrase, so I went looking. It’s apparently a derivation from something that was said by a film director (I am not very familiar with film directors, so forgive me) – his name was Andrei Tarkovsky, and is largely considered one of the greatest film directors.

His actual words were:

An artist never works under ideal conditions. If they existed, his work wouldn’t exist, for the artist doesn’t live in a vacuum. Some sort of pressure must exist. The artist exists because the world is not perfect. Art would be useless if the world were perfect, as man wouldn’t look for harmony but would simply live in it.

Andrei Tarkovsky

However we look at it, he was quite correct, we are all influenced by something or someone, our actions are influenced by some external stimuli. While this applies to the creation of art, I’ve found that it equally applies to our evaluation of art.

Feedback is important, whether negative or positive, it allows us to understand how others feel and react to our work, and I don’t mean those friends and family who always tell you that its “great”, I mean those few friends who will tell you exactly what they think because they respect your work, and wouldn’t want you sharing something sub-standard. If you don’t have a few of those friends, get some, people who tell you all the time that your work is good are not helping you as an artist.

Yes, we want to be told that our work is appealing, but we also need to be told when someone thinks that there’s a flaw or here’s something that does not appeal to them in the work; to the less than positive feedback we listen, we pay attention, we try to see the point of view of the person viewing the work, and whether or not we let it influence future work, is up to us. We need not agree with everything that we are told, but keeping an open mind is what will help us grow as artists.

What brought all this on? I was recently processing an image that I took in 2020. Obviously, to me, if I selected it for processing, then it appealed to me, there was something there that I wanted to share. At the end of it all, I stared at it on and off for probably a good twenty minutes, and was unsure whether I wanted it to be something I should share or just relegate it to the pile that remains unseen. At about that time I was chatting with two other photogs, you know the ones who I hope would tell me when something is trash, and I shared it with them, surprisingly, neither one suggested I dump it.

So its their fault that you are being subjected to it. πŸ™‚

Untitled – 20-6824 | Annandale, East Coast Demerara, Guyana. 2020 | Canon 60D, Sigma 10-20mm

The point is, even as art is not created in a vacuum, we do not live in a vacuum either, and sometimes, its just as simple as asking people “what do you think? and be honest!” At the time I had asked my friends “Is it fine? is something missing? should it be tossed in the bin?”

Feel free to let me know your own thoughts. I don’t think its an award winning image, but its a good image, do others see it as better than good, do they think its just another seawall photo? Keep shooting folks, and click on the image to see it in the Collection along with other Seawall images in the Gallery.