In the beginning…

Well, maybe not “the” beginning, just “a” beginning.

It was probably around 2007 that I began to pay more attention to what went into the frame, to what it was I was taking photographs of.  Prior to that it was mostly point, click, “look, isn’t that pretty??”  Most probably weren’t pretty at all, but family and friends always say “yes, it is”  –  In 2007,  somewhere amidst the generic photos, there began to emerge a few that stood out, and I think that I was seeing things, the things around me, differently, and in so doing I was capturing them differently, light was beginning to take on lifelike characteristics that would change how everything looked, and how everything could be captured on a few thousand pixels.

It was now not so important to capture every detail, but just the ones that would help tell the story, using light and dark, contrast and brightness to illustrate an idea, a concept, a feeling…  It was time to pay more attention to the composition rather than just the subject.

I decided to take a look back at the photos I took ten years ago, to see what, if anything, was worth sharing.  Most of the images I took were family oriented, so those didn’t count, but I was experimenting, looking around me and trying to capture something out of the ordinary (ordinary being the family photos, nothing captured can compare to even the ordinary of professional photographers, much less fine-art photographers).

I even tried my hand at pointing the camera at strange people, out in public, although I was still much more comfortable pointing at non-human subjects, those that might not complain or make a fuss.

And its also the year, I did my first Photo-Walk, not what would really be considered a photo walk, but myself, my brother, Andre, and two friends, Nikhil and Naseem.  We went for a drive “over the river” up to Wales estate on the West Bank of Demerara and I think up to Windsor Forest on the West Coast of Demerara, stopping every now and again to take some photos.

That photo-walk was somewhat of an eye-opener as well, in a relatively short distance, there was quite a lot to see, and a good variety of subjects and scenes to photograph as a result.

This isn’t a retrospective of any kind really, just taking a look at some photos with an eye that has had a decade of shooting, and processing them anew.    They were all shot on a bridge camera, or an advanced point-and-shoot camera, the Canon PowerShot S3 IS, a 6 Megapixel camera with a 1/2.5” CCD sensor, so there’s not a lot of post processing I could do without delving into the realm of editing.

Back then I was mostly all about colour, vivid vibrant popping colour, so the monochromatic versions (BW) you see are how I see them today, not then.

I chose ten images to illustrate what I had accomplished that year, I don’t think I would have found very many, if any, more that are worth sharing.  I hope you enjoy a few.

All the images were reprocessed, and cropped.  Click on any image to see them in the Gallery.


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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.


2012 Deck – Week 28

Although the week is yet to be concluded, I thought it may be prudent to go ahead and post what I have, although I have high hopes of getting more photos before the week is over  🙂

This is not a sharp photograph, the main subject is definitely not sharp but the overall image is very representative.

I had packed away my long telephoto lens for my flight (only 270mm, not long by bird watching standards), I didn’t want to carry too much in the Camera bag, and on my way to work I saw this fellow, and all I had was the Sigma 17-50, so I decided that an all-inclusive shot had to work.  I saw him on a fence and when I stopped and got out of the car, he flew up the road to the next block, as I drove up, he sat there, so I wound down the window to get a few shots off, by the time I had done that he flew off again, so what I took (hastily) is what I got.

As I downloaded the image and began processing, I knew that this would be my photo for the Deck Project this week, I titled it “Ready to Fly”.

Whether or not I am actually ready, the flight leaves, so by the time I get to the airport I’d better be Ready to Fly  🙂

For me it will be a joy to see family I’ve never met, and family I haven’t seen in years, it will be an opportunity to look at an island I’ve seen before, but with a different perspective, and a camera in hand  🙂

So, for those I’m leaving behind, I say “see you shortly, I’ll be back before you know it”  🙂  And to the people and places I’m going to I say, “Ready or not, here I come”… and I want my Jammy Pattie!!!

Ready to Fly

Not sure if clicking on the image to see it in the Gallery would make it look any better, but go ahead, give it a try  🙂

Artsy

Recently, one of the younger photo enthusiasts in the Guyana Photographers FB group, uploaded a photo and mentioned that she was “Adding to the clothes-clips shot collection”, and it carried me back several years to one of my earlier photos (back when almost everything was a family snapshot).  It was one of the earliest photos that Nikhil thought has some artistic merit, or as Naseem might say “artsy”.

For me, photography was “I shoot what I like”, but as the years went by it became more about trying to shoot what I like “a little better”, pay more attention to composition, to the elements in the photo and to the way I process and present the photograph.

So here is the photo from 2007, back when I had started shooting the Canon PowerShot S3 IS, although it is not an SLR, it gave me more control than a compact point and shoot (although at the time it didn’t seem to matter that much to me, it was just fun)

2012 Deck – Week 4

One of the “Four Great Inventions” of China was the invention of Paper, credited to a Court Eunuch named Ts’ai Lun sometime around 105BC, now more than two thousand years later, China still produces numerous paper-products including the subject of this week’s photograph.

Not only is the Invention of Paper one of the “Four Great Inventions of China”, but another of those four inventions is “Printing”, and coincidentally, the subject of today’s photograph combines them both. 🙂

As the Chinese New Year celebrations which began the Year of the (Sea) Dragon, came quite close to my daughter’s birthday, we had essentially a three day celebration for her, and we hung a few Chinese decorations, including these tiny Paper Lanterns that are lit by a string of “Fairy Lights”

May everyone have a fruitful and prosperous Year of the Dragon!

Paper Lantern