In this first post, I thought it would only be appropriate to pen an introduction as to what this website will be about… but actually, I’m not entirely sure of that myself.
What do you mean you don’t know what it will be about?
Well, I mean precisely what I said; most certainly, this website will serve as a place where I can write about my thoughts on photography, my photo adventures, and other whimsical photography-related banter. But then, there may be more, which I myself am not sure of yet. I may use this as a blog, where I will write about other non-photography related things such as life in general, or a place to write my opinions on topics, issues, or news that I feel strongly about, or maybe just a place to dump cute cat pictures (but don’t worry, there won’t be too much of that, I hope). I may write about music I like, music I don’t like, music others like, and music no one likes. Basically, I’ll write about music too. But as what I said, all these are just plans, or rather speculations about the future of this website, and with the very definition of the word “speculation”, these may not come to fruition.
But rest assured (or be bored to death), the entrée of siawsam.wordpress.com will be photos I take that I like, and also those that I don’t, all served with a side of commentary and an occasional dash of story-telling. This website is meant to capture my journey as a photography enthusiast (I feel the designation “photographer” entails a professional occupation). In every post, I will try to embrace both success and failure, shots that turned out well, and photos that are absolute crap, and in that process, I hope writing about both of them forces me to reflect on my photography and make me a better photographer (oops). I will write about my shoots: be it a day out on the streets, a still life shoot at home, or a portraiture session in the outdoors, and talk about the stories behind my photos. For those who bother reading, I will also talk about my gear and techniques, and especially dwell on film photography, which is an exceedingly beautiful area to discuss and explore.
So, why did I start a website/blog instead of sticking to Instagram?
For those who do not follow me on Instagram (which is a private account limited to people I actually know in real life), I have been using Instagram as a platform to showcase my work to others for the past 2 or more years. At the infant stages of my photography journey, I was thirsty to showcase photos that I took to others, even if they were shoddy, taken on my phone, and downright over-edited on some app like Snapseed (not that I have anything against the amazing app). What I sought was perhaps some sort of support from people in the form of likes on my photos, which to the 16 year-old newborn photographer, me, seemed all too important. Yet, over time, my seemingly insatiable hunger for support in such forms has diminished. I realised that Instagram isn’t healthy for an infant photographer trying to find his way to greater heights. Instagram is more often than not filled with people who pretty much like any and every photo they see while scrolling through their feed (I’m partially guilty of it, but am controlling my double-tap muscles increasingly). Such support is forgery, and the forger is none other than my own mind whom desired affirmation from others.
“Such support is forgery, and the forger is none other than my own mind whom desired affirmation from others.”
Now, I do post photos, but not because I seek affirmation, but simply because I wish to showcase my work. Being exposed to great works by legendary photographers of the past, and constantly taking in the art of popular and great photographers of our time, I have become my greatest critic. While I must admit to instinctively defending my photos sometimes when they are under fire by others, believe me when I say I dislike many of my photos too. I often believe the composition, light, or “moment” could be better, and sometimes feel frustrated by my own incapability of digital post-processing my photos. A camera is a complex piece of machinery and engineering, and its inseparable partner, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, is even more complicated. Together, they make photography a highly technical art. I know people who take great exposures in-camera (enviable composition and an eye for creativity), but simply lack the skills required on the computer to breathe life into flat digital negatives. On the other hand, I also know photographers whom take mediocre photos but use post-processing to make their images pop. Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about photoshop-ing in the infamous and derogatory sense that most people associate with fake images. Post-processing digital images is part and parcel of photography in this day and age. Professional cameras output files that are raw and untreated, and require processing to look half-decent at the very least. Anyway, I’d rather not dwell too much on this topic on post-processing, which perhaps could be a blog post some day.
Where was I? Oh, right: why this blog exists and how Instagram affects my photography. Beyond Instagram, I use my own eye to judge my photos and reflect on them. In the past, I stopped thinking about a photo once I had posted it on Instagram, as if the life and story of that photo had beem set in stone from then on. But for months now, I have not posted a “photography” photo. Of course I’ve posted other photos about my life, but none to do with photography. I regularly open my Lightroom catalogue or my folder of finalised photos and go through them, thinking about them each time I do so. With that, I realised that photography, and perhaps art in general, is really not always about others liking your photos, but rather about the process. The experience of shooting photos, the execution of the photo, and the journey from start to finish for each and every photo, they are what define photography for me, if not most photographers whom are beyond the rut I had been stuck in.
As such, I created this website. A website where I can post my photos and talk about them, write their stories, and allow myself a journal to jot down my reflections. At the time of writing this first post, I’ve decided not to make my website known yet, but rather keep this as a personal journal of sorts to dump my thoughts. However, I’m sure this website will go public to the people around me in time to come when I am ready.
But for now, it’s between you and me.