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.


Balance

Balance is over-rated… it’s boring, right?

I mean, eat a balanced diet… where’s the fun in that?  Balance your time between sleep and wake, work and home, business and pleasure…. you get the drift…  keeping the balance is just too hard; of course, going totally unbalanced is not good, not good at all, trust me, I know.

I was out along the seawalls on a midday walk (yes, no one who is balanced would be doing that either!), and I was composing some shots, I normally do not position my horizon in the centre anymore (that was the default position when I started taking photos), but something about this scene made me want to balance the earth to heavens proportion in the frame.

My thought processes often differ from the moment of pressing the shutter-button to the time of processing, and that might be a good thing, at the time of processing, I was looking at the elements and the thought that came to mind was a bible verse… no, I do not normally go around quoting bible verses… but this one many people already know; it is from what we know as The Lord’s Prayer

“… on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10)

I think it fits… in a way 🙂

OK, so I’ve babbled enough nonsense to confuse even myself, here’s the photo:


Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  10mm, ISO 100, 1/200s, f/10


Click on the image to see it in the gallery along with others from the Sewall album

2015 Deck – Week 03

I don’t normally do abstract photography, actually, even including this photo I’m not sure I’ve ever done abstract photography, I just don’t see the world that way.

This photo I liked, I am not sure why, it just appealed to me, even when taking it.

To me it has an amalgamation of the things that make me “feel” like I am where I feel most comfortable, where I was born, where I was raised, where I belong…  I am of Guyana, I am in Guyana, I am Guyana!

Now that I’ve gotten the crazy bits out of the way, here’s the photo 🙂


Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  1/125s, f/10, ISO 100


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.

…. and yes… that bit in the top right hand corner was knowingly left in the frame 🙂

2015 Deck – Week 02

Although I am keeping an eye out for “square(s)” upon which to base my compositions this month, I didn’t intend to include one in each photo I choose for the Deck Project, but, coincidentally, this one met both criteria (so to speak)

I noticed the square shape of the front of the food cart (or juice cart), and the square doors, I ran upstairs to grab the camera (light conditions not ideal for the phone), when I came down the vendor himself had moved away from the cart (still to be seen wearing a beanie cap or tam and glasses at the back of the group of people), I was lucky enough to catch this “active” scene.

Everyone was trying to stay dry, from the cart-man to the pedestrians to patrons of the fast-food restaurant on the corner.


Staying Dry |  Canon EOS6D, Canon 24-105L  |  1/200s, f/5.0, ISO 200 (cropped)


I cropped the image for the final composition, because, frankly speaking, I was trying to stay dry too 🙂

Click on the image to see it in the gallery.


2014 Deck – Week 52

Another year, another 52 images for the project.  Almost thought I wouldn’t make it this year…  My fascination with Jhandi flags on the shore as well as my focus on seascapes has spurred some thoughts to the cohesion of images into proper collections…  My Oniabo collection is still taking shape and I hope that the new year will bear fruit in similar manner.

The last photo of the year exhibits the theme nicely, in colour, so it would not be a part of my Oniabo Collection, but it is a seascape with Jhandi flags at Lusignan.

After taking a series of images here, with both the Canon 60D and the Canon 6D, I then used my phone to snap one for Instagram, and I rather like that one!


Canon 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  1/250s, f/11, ISO 100  |  Lusignan ECD.


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


2014 Deck – Week 45

That photo I used for Week 44 was different, yes, I think it’s good, is that what I want to be doing at this time?

So, back to our regular programming…  a high contrast monochrome from the seashore.  I was hoping that the fisherman/sailor would just sit and stare at the sea for a while, at the time I shot this I think he was securing the bow line.

This is a scene that was a no-brainer for me, it had everything I usually want… Jhandi flags, a boat, a fisherman, a good sky and little garbage in sight within the frame 🙂


24mm, 1/1250s, f/5.0, ISO 200


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


2014 Deck – Week 05

I was tagging along with Fidal Bassier at Park Vue Hotel, Guyana’s newest Hotel, and we were given a tour by one of the owners who showed us the various offerings of the hospitality establishment.

Fidal was being considered as one of the photographers to record images for the Hotel for use in their marketing (I believe some other lucky photographer did the job eventually), while we were there we asked to take a few photos in the lobby / reception area and the Lounge.

Although I don’t think I’m very good at it, I’ve always liked a bit of Architectural photography, so I tried my hand at this one for this week’s Deck photo.



I hadn’t noticed that I’d lost some detail in the tiles when I originally shot it, so I did a tone-mapped version of the photo to retrieve some of that detail

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery

A Walk on the Conservancy

We recently had a Photowalk  for willing members of the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group, it was ostensibly called “Canal #2 Photowalk”, that just meant we met at the western end of Canal #2 on the West Bank of Demerara, right where it meets the Conservancy, from there we chose a direction to walk (by default we headed North).  Each member is initially allowed three images to upload to the album on the group, and Fidal Bassier wanted us to put some emphasis on “Composition” for this PhotoWalk, so there was some discussion about it… and I chose these three photos for certain reasons.


First image:  House  – 14-1649

I was mentioning to someone at the beginning of the walk (or a few someones) that it is important to know what makes a good composition, read as much as you can on things like the Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines, and other compositional aids, rules and guides.  Once you know these things it makes composing a decent image all the easier, but it also allows you to realize that some scenes will allow you to “break” those rules.

For this image I pretty much threw the Rule of Thirds away… the main compositional aid being a Leading Line – the bridge leading you to the house, but even this is muted a bit by the shadow across the early portion of the bridge.


Second image:  Sit – 14-1654

Initially the impulse was to zoom in to avoid all the clutter in the photo to simplify the scene down to the man, the boat and the conservancy behind him; but I thought that including the rough woodwork and using the low sun as a backlight would make for a nice silhouette shot or at least a more inclusive rather than exclusive composition.  The low-hanging branch also helped enclose that corner of the frame.  Shooting into the sun naturally desaturates a scene, and I used this to advantage in the colouring of the image.  I also again ignored the Rule of Thirds and relied on the leading lines of the wood and the bright sun to lead you to the subject.


Third image:  Prelude to Sunset – 14-1698

It seemed that although a few of us wanted to stick around to see the sunset, others preferred to get going… so I took a Prelude to Sunset photo.  When I first started taking photos, I would be happy with just a plain nice sunset, but as I began to appreciate some more the images that actually made me look twice at them, I came to realize that some Sunset images (and most landscape ones, come to think of it) needed a foreground object in the composition to hold your attention as well, so I tried to include a portion  of a rusty pontoon.  I exposed for the sky and had already decided that I would be doing some post-process fill-light to regain some detail in the pontoon.


I hope I didn’t bore anyone with all of that… overall, I think it was a good Photowalk.  Click on the images above to see them in the Gallery along with other images in the “Out and About” album.

2013 Deck – Week 49

It is almost shameful that I’ve lived all of my life upon these shores (with the few exceptions of travelling abroad), and the majority of my time has been spent in the City, when there are so many beautiful places to see across our land, but that is how life is, and I am thankful that I got to see the little that I have seen.

I’ve seen the Rainforest and the Rupununi Savannahs, the Pakaraima mountains, Orinduik Falls and Kaieteur Falls, but there is so much more to see…

Recently I was fortunate to be among a group of people who had dinner at Fort Island, photographically it wasn’t a great trip, but for me it was almost priceless.

My wife and I joined more than a hundred other patrons who dined outside the Court of Policy on the Island, and were entertained by the legendary Dave Martins and his friends.

I did manage to take some photos of the fort, but finding one without a dozen people in it was tough 🙂

I hope you like this one:



Click on the image to see it in the Gallery