Lusignan

Anyone who knows me, or has followed my blog or Facebook posts know that I have a particular fondness for the seawalls.  Although I haven’t been shooting much in the last few years, I do manage to get in one or two seawall visits and a few images.  Many people don’t realise that the artistic process is not simple and certainly not infallible, over the years, I’ve accumulated many images, and I can often go back through images I’ve taken and overlooked to find a gem or two.

These two images were never overlooked, but I simply didn’t quite get the feel I wanted at the time, I suspect  my mindset was different and I didn’t see what was right in front of my eyes.  I’ve often looked at images I’ve taken and know that I have “something”, but can’t seem to process is the way my mind or my inner eye was seeing it, so its often a limitation of the mind, or the knowledge to get the image from the raw image into what it was that I was intending to capture and to share.

Lusignan Seawall – 19-6437

One of the things I’ve learned over time is not to force my way to achieve something “artistic”, it either comes or it doesn’t.  What I can do, and what I often do, is to experiment, to play with the software, try various settings and adjust the sliders without thinking too much about it, just adjust on a visual level rather than intellectually anticipate a particular outcome.  What this does if expose my mind to more of what the software is capable of, and also to see changes in the tonality and look of the image that I would not have otherwise seen with my usual predetermined mindset.

This does not necessarily mean that at the end of experimenting that I get a pleasing image, often that’s not that case, and I put the image aside and move on, but I would have learnt a thing or two, which I can apply to other images.  It is also just as likely that I would return to that image at a later date, with some more clarity, possibly because I’ve since learnt something new, or simply gotten a different outlook on the image and what it could be.

Mast – 19-6434

What I have described is one of my approaches to this “art”, and there are many photographers out there who don’t approach it as art but as a profession.  The beauty of Photography is that each of us can approach it differently, and come out of it at the end with unique images, because we are all unique, and what works for me may not work for others, and vice versa.  Don’t be afraid to experiment, it is how we learn.


Princess Margaret

My father, Christopher Lam, was many things in his 83 years of life; a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a salesman, a manager; his life contained much I do not know, and much I have forgotten.  Among the things that he did, he was once something of a photographer.  And there was one image which he was proud of, because of some uniqueness to it.

The year was 1958, my dad would have been 21 years old when Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, visited British Guiana as part of the Royal Tour of the West Indies.  A controversial figure, her visit was anticipated by her royal subjects, and the streets were flooded with people everywhere she went.

There were/are many photos of her visit, as expected of a royal visit, and many were published in the press and printed as souvenirs; my father also printed copies of one of his to sell as souvenirs.  My dad was quite proud of his, not just because it was a good photograph, but because, in his words and opinion, it was unique.  From every country and every tour that Princess Margaret did, even from images seen in the English press, whenever she was photographed, she would greet the crowds with a wave of her gloved hand.  In my dad’s photograph, she was gloveless.  It seems a small thing, but my dad says it was a big deal.  I’m sure there were other photos of her waving gloveless, but dad says he never saw one, and neither have I.

Princess Margaret - British Guiana by Christopher Lam
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon © Christopher George Lam, 1958

I decided to snap a photo of his, to share with you, as something of a photographer myself, I share in his joy regarding the photograph, and share it with you to see.  I regret not doing this earlier, my dad died three weeks ago, having lived a full life, having loved and been loved, and leaving behind many memories, and children and grandchildren to remember him.


Back in the Streets

I’ve been out of circulation for a while, many things have happened and life has moved on.  I’m trying to get back to some sort of “normal”, and one way was to start back my midday walking, so I went out for a short walk (much shorter than usual) to dip my toes in the water 🙂

Over the years, I’ve gotten used to walking with come device to capture images while I walk, whether its a full DSLR camera, a mobile phone or the DXO One that I have for such walks.  There are times I walk and never take a photo, and there are times that I take many but never use any, then there are the other times that I take some and get a few keepers.

Chicos y bolsos – 20-0489

The thing about Street Photography, and something many still don’t understand, is that its not about photographs in the streets, its about people.  It’s about people and the environment, whether they are identifiable or not is unimportant, its their way of dress, or their way of walking, their antics or the way they “pose” as in lean on a post or sit on a chair, its about their behaviour in a crowd, or among others, or by themselves – its about life, the life that they show, the life that is implied, the life that we see as a photographer,and the life that you see as a viewer.

Partaking of the Harvest – 20-0492

For my part in taking street photography, I try to be outside of the events, not interacting with the subjects,but inevitably there will be some interaction, being of mixed ancestry with an outwardly predominant asian visage, I tend to get noticed on the streets 🙂  Using a discrete device to capture images does help minimise the likelihood of the subjects being aware that they are being photographed, and thereby preserving the scene.  There are many times when I’ve watched Nikhil interact with people, then take their photos, and the results are usually quite amazing, but that’s just not me, so what works for him and others, don’t work for me, and vice versa.

Charlie Brown makes me laugh – 20-0501

I don’t consider myself a good street photographer, I do have an understanding of the genre, but I definitely place my images way below those of many other local “street togs”, but sometimes I have a few that I think are worth sharing  🙂

Hope you like them, click on them to see them in the Gallery along with other images “In the Streets”.


Photographic OIL and GAS

Now that I have your attention, this is not about the oil off our coast or anything to do with the oil and gas sector; this is about photography – Photographic Overall Inspiration Lapse & Gear Acquisition Syndrome.

It may be interesting to see what photographs result from the new-found Oil, but for that we’ll have to wait. This post is about the a little slump I’ve found myself in and a little about some images resulting from a bit of new gear (no, I don’t suffer from Gear Acquisition Syndrome, that’s click-bait too)

Continue reading “Photographic OIL and GAS”

St George’s Cathedral

This impressive edifice has likely been branded upon the memories of ninety per cent of all Guyanese (if not all), it stands centrally in the commercial district of Georgetown, encircled by roads and dwarfing most of its neighbours in size and in stature.  It is probably one of the most photographed buildings in Georgetown alongside other buildings along what is called the Heritage Trail, which stretches from Parliament Building (which incidentally is where Anglicanism first began making an impact here, in the late 1700s the ground floor of a building on that site was used to hold services) all the way up Avenue of the Republic into Main Street and High Street, ending at the Umana Yana.

SGC -2

The current St George’s Cathedral is the second church to sit on that spot, the first not lasting very long due to structural faults and subsequent cracking, although there were plans for a replacement stone structure, a wooden building was settled upon using mainly local timber.

SGC -3

What makes a cathedral?  Although most people tend to associate the term with grand structures in the Latin cross style, complete with naves and transepts, a cathedral is simply the church within a diocese that houses the seat of the Bishop, in this case the Anglican Bishop of Guyana.  Guyana has two notable cathedrals, the second being Brickdam Cathedral or as it is officially known, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (a Roman Catholic church).

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The current building was opened in 1892, and is among the tallest wooden structures in the world, as well as often being called the tallest wooden church in the world.  Over the decades there have always had to be major renovative and restorative works to the building.  While it is an Anglican Cathedral, it is also a source of pride to all Guyanese, and as such we should all try to help in keeping it beautiful and maintaining it.

SGC -6

I remember during my high-school years, there was a massive drive to raise fund for its restoration, a specific memory centre around some pens that they sold, the pens were shaped like a large nail, I remember using that pen in school, and while my own faith is Roman Catholic and the school I attended was a former Catholic school, heading up my page with that pen meant something, especially when I wrote the letters “A.M.D.G” at the top of the page as I still did at the time; it was a remnant of the old school habits, St. Stanislaus College having been run by the Jesuit priests required the students to head the page with that, it stands for “Ad maiorem Dei gloriam” – For the greater glory of God.

SGC -5

St. George’s Cathedral is again currently in the middle of massive restoration project, this post contains some photos I took of it a few weeks ago.  The northern face has been completed and is impressive in its finish, currently the western face / south western corner is being tackled.  I understand that there is currently a short-fall of funds, and they are asking for any assistance to continue and complete the entire building, to restore its beauty, and preserve part of our national heritage.

SGC -1


All images copyright protected © Michael C. Lam (www.TheMichaelLamCollection.com)

All images taken with Canon EOS 6D |  Canon 24-105mm

Wadokozinao wizii

I am not an art oficionado or connoisseur, but I do have some art appreciation; in the course of my day job, I happened to come across works by Ms Myrna Bernard, she came in to our offices to print images onto Canvas, the files tended to be digital illustrations and composites of her own photos and her own making, to the finished print she would then use paints to complete her works of art.  I have had the honour of seeing some of her work on Exhibit at the National Art Gallery on two occasions, and I distinctly remember having to return several times to one piece to stare and be engulfed in it.   Another person’s work whom I’ve seen with a similar angle is that of the ever-travelling Ian Brierley, an Englishman who has visited Guyana many times over the last two decades and has done many prints and paint on canvas among other types of artistic work.

I am no painter, but I had an idea and on chatting with a friend and painter, Ms. Nicky Williams (Nicole Bissoo-Williams),  a plan was put into motion.  I had taken many photographs on a trip into the Pakaraima Mountains in 2016;  I went through this set in search of a particular type of image, one that was good but did not feel complete in my eyes, and which I thought lent some room for further artistic expression by Nicky.

In the end, I chose five images, after some minor post-processing in Lightroom, I printed them onto Artist Canvas, and had them stretched onto some pinewood frames.  These I then gave over to Nicky  with the barest minimum of instructions, basically to do as she wished, use any technique, any materials, cover as much as, or as little as desired, add or remove content, so that when finished, the pieces would be a collaborative work.  It was a bit nerve-racking having someone else make alterations to something you created, without you actually approving of each and every change, but I firmly believed that if I gave the creative process free reign, that the results would be great; and I was not disappointed.

Sometime before Nicky had finished her work, I had approached a good friend, and spiritual sister Ermelinda, who is from one of the southern Amerindian villages to ask her to suggest or to ask around for a word or phrase with and  of the words “Land”, “Parents”, “Ancestors”, in any of the dialects or languages of the peoples in that area; this was done only because I had no contacts at the time to anyone specific in the areas the actual images were taken.  After some discussion; the phrase “Wadokozinao wizii” was chosen, it was from the Wapishana dialect and means “Our Ancestors’ Land”.  This was the title I had chosen for the collection of five pieces.

I was approached by Mrs. Denise Dias MS, about some photographs to be auctioned off at a fund-raising Italian dinner for Help & Shelter (tonight, November 3rd, 2017), and it occurred to me that if she liked these pieces, maybe they could be auctioned to raise funds for the shelter.  These pieces have never been seen by anyone else, but I figured that if Mrs. Dias liked them then they stood a chance at helping them raise some funds 🙂

I decided to write this post as a way of sharing photos of those pieces, taken before handing them over.  So, here they are:


Wadokozinao wizii – Yakarinta – 16-1175


Wadokozinao wizii – Rukumoto – 16-1315


Wadokozinao wizii – On Monkey Mountain – 16-1526


Wadokozinao wizii – Karasabai Fenced – 16-1253


Wadokozinao wizii – Karasabai Wide Open – 16-1263

 


These are meant as single time creations, and no other versions of them are intended to be created.

Click on the images to see them in the Gallery.


The House on Sixth

Its been quite a while since I’ve blogged anything here, it’s actually been quite a while since I’ve done any serious photography with the DSLR.  Since I began using a smart phone with a decent camera, I’ve done quite a bit of work on my Instagram project, and the simple joy of pulling out a phone and snapping a photo has reduced the urge to use (or lug around) any larger camera.  But, mobile devices have their limitations, and there are still images that need to be captured differently.

That being said, I made an effort, to stop the vehicle one afternoon, and snap a few frames of a house that I keep passing, and promising to get a photo of, so here it is 🙂


Canon EOS 6D, Canon 24-105 f/4L  |  Processed in Nik HDR Efex and Lightroom  |  2017


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images in the Black & White Gallery