About Me

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I love the sunrise. I love staring out into the horizon in front of me, feeling the sun's glow, and losing myself in my own world of thoughts... I love being awake when the world around me is fast asleep, and staring into the distance at the tiny glimmering ball of fire as it shyly creeps into my world… Each sunrise brings to me a new day and with it a fresh start. An opportunity to do things differently, see things from a different point of view... but best of all, an opportunity to ponder over the day ahead, giving a new chance every day to live...

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Photography................... and me.

As I'm sitting here, fingers poised and thoughts ready to go, I am at a loss as to where to begin. There are some lines of our past that are blurred because of the seemingly receding paths of our memories with time, and others that are so, are so due to a lack of a fixed point of beginning. For me, it is a combination of the two. There was neither a certain moment when I knew that I officially "like photography", nor can I remember how precisely it all began. It must also be said, however, that with hobbies and passions that are also an integral part of a life outside of 'doing it just for fun' (for instance, photography or fashion), it is difficult to pinpoint when it begins to evolve from a thing that you do as part of your life, to something you actively begin to pursue. Sure, there are some people who might have had a role model or a defining point that began as their inspiration, but I think that for me, it managed to somehow subconsciously evolve and I only realised once significant evolution had taken place. And I think that is one of the best kinds of hobbies or passions; when you are too involved in it to realise you are too involved it, when you don't even begin to think of it as a passion or a hobby, but just as something you do, and then when you've been away from it (or at it) long enough, something just clicks inside you and you just know. I think that was the case for me.

I have always been taking photographs for as long as I can remember, of regular things like everyone does - photos of family, friends, special occasions, something that looked pretty, someone that looked pretty... whatever. But I have also always remembered being fascinated by beauty. I have never fully analysed why or how I became fascinated by beauty (I guess that's another story... for when it develops.), but fascinated, I surely was (and still am). I suppose everyone is fascinated by beauty, perhaps because everyone has their own definitions of beauty and what is beautiful to me may not be so to another person, but even putting all those differences aside, I think everyone tends to find at some point or other in their lives something so marvellously filling to their eyes and mind, that it stuns them into silence. I am not just talking about fantastical panoramic views or a rare flower/bird/animal/building or wonderfully beautiful people (which I find tend to be the most photographed), but the simple and normal, everyday things - an old cup to the brim with tea or the colourful pattern on a dress or an avant-garde style of interior decoration or a football fan with his country's flag painted all over his face... everyone finds beauty in some thing or the other at some point or the other (in fact, often plenty of times) in their lives. But I guess the difference is that photographers make it a mission in their lives to capture this beauty, as an art form. At least, that's how it was for me.

I guess it might have been because I travelled and visited so many places, that I began to gain an understanding and appreciation for beauty as I know it. As I said, I have never really sat down and thought about it yet, so I don't really know. But for me, that is what I can reason out, to be the most probable explanation for my interest in taking photographs. I never really cared for 'photography', per se... all I (somehow or other - heavens knows how!) found myself wanting to do was to capture all the beauty I could see, just so I can look back on it and never forget. That's how I began taking more and more photos - for memory's sake, for the good times' sake. Whenever people complimented my photographs, I never took it as a compliment for my skill (cos hell, I didn't have any freaking skill!). Instead, I always responded saying that the whole scene was just waiting for me, and I just pressed a button and put it on the computer.

Slowly (and very slowly it was too, because I have not a clue how it happened...), though, I found myself wanting to take good photos. I found myself (especially with the advent of digital cameras, back in those days...) deleting something I know could have been better, and trying again (and again, and again... until I began to get worried the battery would run out... haha!). I didn't know back then (and technically, even to this day, I don't really know, you could say...) what the hell a good photo was, but I knew it could be better than what I was taking. And soon enough, I found myself getting excited by the prospect of looking at things from a different angle, the way you can make something that is always associated as being one shape, into some other shape that seemed completely different. I found myself getting excited about the way colours played a part in the photograph, the way black and white or sepia can give the image a completely different feel to it.

Somehow, at some point, photography stopped just being a way of remembering all the pretty things I saw, and began to also be a way for me to manipulate artistically what the naked eye could see. I began to spend hours browsing Flickr, and browsing photography blogs... and so I found myself becoming interested in the technicalities of photography, too. I found it absolutely fascinating the way some things were focussed sharply on the foreground, while everything else in the background was blurred (this is something to with the depth of field), and I loved the way you could capture a moving car in perfect focus, as the background (that was lying still) was blurred (you simply make sure you are parallel to the car or whatever the moving object it is that you want to focus on, and leave the aperture open enough to capture the image for a couple of seconds)... it really, really fascinated me. And the more I practised, the more frustrated I got with my pathetic results, but the more I got into it and the more I began to really love photography.

Unfortunaly, I have never had time to pursue it with as much passion and interest as I have been meaning to for a long time now. I did try and read up about the subject, but all the detailed photography-related vocabulary simply scared me off it. Since then, it has always been me experiment and playing with the camera in my own way and whenever there was spare time (of which there was very little). Especially this past academic year, I have not really taken that many photographs that I took for photography's sake, but for no reason whatsoever (though I have a feeling it was my subconscious mind trying to avoiding working...), I suddenly thought of it today, and how much I missed it. Hence the blog post.

For me, now, I love photography for a whole host of reasons on a whole range of levels. I don't quite know if I am at the level yet, of calling photography a passion, because I still don't know enough about it as a practice and a subject, but I certainly know I am passionate about it. I enjoy it, it makes me happy. It makes me happy because it gives me something to do, and I think it quite complements my romantic and contemplative nature (I think the photographs you take tend to reflect the kind of person you are... no seriously... think about it.), and also helps me to grow and develop myself artistically (and as a scientist - heavens knows I don't do enough of that!). But I think the most wonderful thing about photography (and the biggest reason why I love it), is that it forces you to look around yourself, to think and to observe and to learn and to appreciate. It helps you to see life, and I mean really see it.

Of course, no experience can ever mean anything unless you apply your mind and thoughts to the situation, unless you question and make a genuine attempt to try and learn and understand, but unless you can see what the hell's going on, you can't begin to understand it. This of course doesn't mean you need to constantly hide your eyes behind a purdah of a camera to feel the pulse of the life around you - You don't need to be a photographer to understand life! Hahaha... :S - but I am just saying that it is one way of doing so. Another way of observing, thinking about things, and growing from the experience. That doesn't mean you don't do everything else, but it just means this is what I find so lovely about it... am I making any sense here? The reason I'm saying this is because unless you open your mind up and try and look for beauty everywhere, creativity (and therefore your resulting photographs) will become stifled, and I just think that whilst doing that, you also naturally tend to start thinking and understanding more about life, too. After all, a photograph is simply a completely frozen point in time, of something that is (or isn't) happening on this Earth... it's up to the mind to come up with the goods.