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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
Click on the image to see it in the Black and White Gallery, along with many other images there. Keep Shooting!
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.
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! 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.
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.
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:
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. 🙂
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.
Practicing Street Photography in a market is good way to get into it, especially if your choice of street photography is candid and geared toward images with lots of “life” in them. I have found that it has its setbacks as well as its advantages, as does everything.
If you are not a regular visitor to the market, you will likely stand out, making it more difficult to take those candid shots, more difficult to remain unobtrusive, and less likely to get those shots that you see; you and your camera will stand out. Its important to remember that, while taking photographs in public is legally permissible, its important to respect others, especially if they look you in the eye and say “don’t take my photo”, simply smile and say “no problem”, a smile will often defuse most situations.
In the haste to get some shots, I may come away with a less than desirable image, it may be crooked (sometimes fixable by rotating), it may be that feet get chopped off, or it may be a little soft, not quite as sharp as I’d like, but sometimes, the content of the image is enough that some of these are forgivable or that they may even add interest to the image; sometimes, very rarely, a bad image is sometimes just a bad image.
On the plus side, most market goers are busy checking the produce and looking at what’s on display, and may not notice that camera in your hands; market vendors, as well as regular patrons may be busily engaged in passing conversation, or discussions on the produce and price, and your camera may pass by unmentioned.
After walking a few times through these busy markets, you will likely get the hang of it, and may even come out with a few images that you’ll like. I sometimes come away with some I love, with more than a few that are acceptable, and lots of ones that never see the light of day.
Street Photography isn’t the sub-genre for everyone, and even in that sub-genre there are different styles and techniques, approaches and processing methods that help each photographer stand out. Stepping into the streets to take photographs was very daunting to me, but over the years its gotten a tad bit easier. I always thought of myself as more of a seascape, cityscape, landscape type photographer, those scenes tended to be devoid of people; in taking photographs during the Mashramani celebrations over the years steered me to the vibrance and life-filled frames that are possible – and although I prefer black and white street photographs, some scene will lend themselves to colour better.
Keep shooting and sharing folks! Click on the images to see them in the gallery along with other Street Photography Images.
Recently (December 14, 2022), Fidal shared a post on the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group, about a crowd funded Book project by well-known street photographer Nils Jorgensen, and it surprised me to see that the Kickstarted campaign had failed to raise enough pledges to complete the project in the time allotted.
Now, while I don’t personally go for the many images Nils has of just leg portions, his take on street photography is distinct and worth looking at, and sharing. Many of them can individually generate trains of thought that blossom into stories, conjured from a simple single image.
If Nils, with his thousands of social media followers, his skillfully taken photos, his ability to tell a story in monochrome or colour, can fail to garner the funds for a book project, what chances have we?
This brings me to our own local scene, I have often played with the idea, and discarded many a plan simply because I don’t think my work is good enough, and more often than not because of the capital required for such projects, without crowd-funding. Recently I was thrilled to see a book published by local photographer Keno George, as he explained it, it was funded by a grant from the Government of Guyana. The book is a magnificent piece of work that tells the story of the 2018 No Confidence Motion in Guyana’s Parliament. The photography is top notch, as I’ve come to expect from Keno, and the production is definitely above par for local artistes. I’ve always thought of Keno as an exceptional PhotoJouralist, although his work covers more than just that, but his eye for images on the streets or during a tumultuous event is uncanny. I encourage you to check the book out, buy it online or through him directly. One regret for me is the lack of captions (even a reference at the back of the book) to indicate names of people in the photos, for the less politically educated and for historical reference.
I hope to see more photographers dip their toes into the realm of published works, other than the works of Robert J. Fernandes (Bobby), and that of Rex Lucas, there are few is any others that avidly represent our genre adequately. Bobby’s work was instrumental in showing many of us parts of Guyana that we thought we’d never see, and through the eye of a skilled photographer, Rex’s work pull’s at the strings that releases nostalgia among the diaspora more than locals. There are, of course, other books , such as that by world-renowned photographer Pete Oxford, as well as one that I’ve mentioned before by James Broscombe (still a favourite of mine)
As in the years leading up to 2020, we now approach 2023, we are at a crossing, what path we take determines not only our own involvement with the art of photography, but also the impact we can have on the art itself, its local development, and upon other photographers, those already established and known as well as those upcoming and striving to make their own mark.
I’ve always been more known for my landscapes and seascapes, but in the course of my photographic journey, I have developed a love for street photography as well, though my images pale in comparison to other local street photographer, they are no less demonstrative of life in Guyana, I share one with you that I took in 2020, perhaps only days before mask mandates went into effect for the COVID-19 pandemic.
To my fellow photographers, visual artists, whatever you wish to refer to yourselves as, keep shooting, keep sharing!
Click on the image above to see it in the Gallery along with other Street photographs. Feel free to comment, every response is a chance for me to learn as well.
One of those so-called “Rules” about using your camera correctly is that you should not point your camera directly towards the sun. Other than the obvious effect of probably blinding you, its also to protect your gear, but sometimes, you have to just ignore that. In order to get a decent Sundog photo, you have no choice.
Likewise with Sunrises and even sunsets, sometimes you compose with the sun off-centre, other times you may think the centrally placed sun works better.
A rising sun on a reasonable clear morning can be very bright when seen through the viewfinder of a DSLR 🙂
The tide was out that morning, so I was able to get down to the seashore level.
Most areas where there’s a Koker (Sluice), even at an early morning hour, you’ll find some people at various tasks, whether they be fishermen, devotees come to do a Puja, someone washing articles of clothing, or just folks out to enjoy the sunrise.
Of course, there’s always the nutcases like us who were out there to take photographs, sometimes we come away with just good memories, and other times we come away with a few images we’d like to share.
Click on the images to see them in the Gallery along with other images that I dropped into an Album called “Up East”.
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.
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.