Tower

Back when it was still called Hotel Tower.

There has been a Hotel with the word “Tower” in its name on this spot for more than a century.  I can’t find enough online historical evidence, but before the current name “Tower Suites”, it was the Hotel Tower for many years, and prior to that it was the Tower Hotel.  I saw an 1909 Ad that claimed that “The Tower is the oldest and Best Hostelry on the Northern Coast of South America”.  🙂

Hotel Tower  |  2009  |  Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Sigma 10-20mm


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.


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.


Colour or Monochrome

When film (or plate) was the way to capture photographs, there were many many debates, just like there are now.  They didn’t debate sensor sizes, they debated film sizes (and that had so many I won’t even start on that), and just like many enthusiasts and professionals now debate colour vs monochrome, so it also went back then.

While there were specific films developed for both types back then, in the digital age we are pretty much guaranteed that the camera you buy, whether the one in your mobile phone, compact camera, mirrorless or DSLR camera, it will in all likelihood take the photos in colour, which you can then convert to monochrome (black and white, sepia, etc) in post-process, whether in-camera or in software on the PC.  This changed when Leica developed their Leica M Monochrom, it was the first major brand to produce a high-end digital camera that produced only black and white photographs, and rumor has it Sony is working on a black and white version of their RX 1.  I don’t want to get into a debate myself over the need or desire to have a camera that only shoots monochrome, I can only say that it is unlikely I would ever buy one myself, but that is probably only my wallet talking.

In the genre of Street Photography, there is usually a preference for black and white images, but there are many many great coloured Street Photographs out there, more than you’d think.  Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work in street photography was very definitive for the genre, and all his work was in black and white, he also experimented with coloured film but was never satisfied with the results; of course, he only had access to the types of film available then (the 1950s) and if you look back at coloured prints from those days you’d see the limitations of the coloured film of the time.  I dare say that if he had lived in a later era, he may have at least given the coloured films a chance.

When I first started taking photographs on a slightly more serious basis than just snapshots, I didn’t do much black and white processing, and even when I did, it was more for the novelty than because I knew why it should be done and to which photographs.  Now I do a lot more processing in black and white…

What have I learnt that changed my views?

I’ve learnt that not all photos look good in monochrome, the tonal range and subject matter is very important for an image to look good in monochrome.  Monochrome images tend to showcase textures, shapes and form better, and by removing colour from the image you are left with just the elements that make up the composition, and if those elements are not functioning correctly in the overall composition, it will feel off, or look cluttered.

When used correctly, colour will catch the eye and hold it, this works for some compositions, but for others, that same thing tends to shift the focus of the viewer from the overall composition and have them concentrate almost solely on one portion of the image.

I’m no expert, but this is how I see it; recently I took a few photographs of some Jhandi flags on the Kingston seashore, and I chose two that I liked, and I processed them quite differently, and primarily for the reasons stated above.

This one I chose colour, because the main subject and the focus of the image is the Jhandi flags themselves, the various colours chosen as they contrast with each other, the browns of the sand and the blues of the sky.

The second image I processed in black and white to articulate the relationship between the clouds in the sky with the sands on the ground, the change from dark to light in both the sky and the land as they meet at the horizon, the sharpness of the shadow from the midday sun, and the contrast between the flags on the pole so close to the viewer against what seems to be a smaller post in the distance to the left of the frame.

These are my decisions, they may quite well not be anyone else’s choice.


In the end, these are choices I make in how I express myself artistically now, it is not how I did it a few years ago, it may not be how I do it five years from now.

Click on the images to see them in their respective galleries.

2014 Deck – Week 12

For this week I actually had quite a few photos to choose from, mostly along the seawalls.  Fidal Bassier had invited me along to shoot with him, he was doing part of a photo-shoot for Miss Earth Guyana, Ms Stacy Ramcharran, and even though I was late getting there, I decided to stop anyway and see what was going on.

The talented team from Bravo Arts under the direction of Steve Bravo had already done an amazing job of the body paint etc., and Stacy’s entourage were well in attendance and assisting her with all the necessaries.

Fidal was setting up on a mound on the southern side of the National Park, the winds had picked up a bit and he asked me to help hold one soft-box in position while I was there…  but I’m a photographer, and I just couldn’t resist the urge to click the shutter button.

Whilst holding the soft-box in one hand (the wind was trying very hard to tug it out of position and out of my hands), I slung my backpack to the side and extracted the camera with one hand, the lens on the camera would have to work… it was the Sigma 10-20mm, so I suspected that cropping after was most likely.

I took only two photos, mainly because Fidal decided at that moment to switch locations, and by the time we had set up at the next spot, it was time for me to say adieu.  One photo I had cropped and sent to Stacy, she ended up using it as the Cover image for the official Facebook Page for Miss Earth Guyana 2014:

IMG_3953-2


The second one, I did not crop, it was the one I preferred, and I had decided since then that I would likely use it for the Deck project, so here it is:


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

All-in-all, it was educational to watch these folks at work, and that I clicked the shutter twice, and got two photos that were usable, I feel good 🙂

Mashramani Children’s Parade 2014

Although I am much behind in my current Deck Project, I thought it prudent to choose and process photos from last weekend’s Children’s Mashramani Parade.

As usual, I am seldom disappointed with the parade itself, the Children are always great to see, I often say it is better than the Adult’s Parade…

I will be making a shortlist of these photos soon, but for now you can click on the image below to see the current images in the Gallery

Mash - Kids 2014


2013 Deck – Week 13

Lucky number 13?  I don’t know, but the thirteenth week of this year was filled with activity… it was Holy Week in the Christian Calendar, and in the Hindu calendar it also held the festival of Phagwah (or Holi).

I got many photos, mostly from the Church activities for my own satisfaction, but I’ll definitely share some.

On Phagwah day I usually don’t get many photos of people playing  / celebrating Phagwah, as I tend to keep my camera safely away from the waters and powders that abound.  Nearing the end of the day, I was sitting with my family on the seawall, and along came these young ladies fresh from playing, and I couldn’t resist snapping a shot, one even posed 🙂


Click on the image above to see it better in the Gallery!


Alone in the Crowd

This was the photograph I had in mind for last week’s Deck Photo, but then the horse-cart took over  🙂

I still find it amazing that in a crowded room or a public place full of people, I can be next to my wife, and feel as if we’re alone, just the two of us.  It was one of those things you read about in poems and novels but didn’t quite get until it happened to you.  For more than half of my life, that has been us, I can look into her eyes and we’d be alone wherever we were.  I look forward to many more years like that.

Well, I took this photograph, so it’s not of us, but you get the idea 🙂  Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Click to see larger on the site.