Saturday, February 9, 2013

The eye, the camera, and the moment

Amongst some of the things that I am really disappointed at times as an amateur photographer is how people always asked what camera am I using when I show them my pics. Which then reminded me of a joke about how a photographer, when asked/told about this by a chef, poked fun at him, by complimenting him, and then asking what kind of pots/pans/cooking utensils was he using, in order to achieve such culinary goodness.

But honestly, I do think that at times, the tools that you have at your disposal does play a small part to capture that memorable photo. BUT....more than about that tool, you must be able to pre-visualise how that photo looks like, even before taking it. To me, there could be 2 types of photographers out there, one who pre-visualises his photos, and one who doesn't.

I've always had this notion beforehand, that photography is about having the biggest and baddest camera hanging round your neck. But my recent interests in black and white photography, and my desire to capture simplicity in all my recent photos, just changed my perception of certain things. Yes, the tools are important, but I guess it adds up only to a certain qualitative level to your photography. The eye, the ability to 'see' your photos, the basic skills of composition, understanding the light, understanding your subject, being able to 'read' them too...all these are just some of the skills that one has to hone in order to capture that perfect moment.

Which brings me to the idea of THAT moment. It is never easy for one to capture a memorable moment in a flash, and on a non-moving medium like a photo. But that is perhaps THE challenge for photographers. And I don't mean that that could be resolved by setting your camera to multiple-exposures, and then snapping away while letting the camera do its job. It is about the skill, the patience, the understanding of the environment of your subject...all these factors must come together at the right time, in order to allow you, as the photographer, to capture THAT moment. And of course, that capture must also lends itself to you being able to imagine how that capture would look like in your head, and hopefully, to your tools not failing on you!

So here, to all my photography friends out there, keep on snapping!

My colleagues doing the Lo Hei, as part of the customary celebrations for
the Chinese New Year. Photo by idgraphy