Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Street Photography? Read and learn....wannabe glamboys!

The reason why I wrote this one was because I could not close my eyes at all and it has been almost 23 hours since I woke up....and simply because my buddy - Ian Ahmad of NSTP became quite upset with an article on a street photographer boy.

So, street photography suddenly became a hot topic (again) due to that article. This is really going out of control but anyway who cares....arts is freedom of expression - oh yeah boy, the thing that is not free would be the legal fee you may have to bear due to your artsy-fartsy mentality. The big bang of the whole fiasco was a couple of years back, when a dude openly claimed he was the founder of the country's street photography. Yowzer!!! How bold!! As like many other professional shooters and some well established lecturers on photography and related arts, I don't even care how much "MisterFounder" has already bagged in because as far as reality is concerned, they are open to many harms and what they don't know is they are making a mess to the public and the society!! ...and it is getting worse!!!

What is street photography? I am not going to write it all here, you can Google it and do your own research. What more important apart from knowing what it is all about, is to understand the boundaries and legalities, to respect the community, the subject you are capturing. To be a responsible photographer. In some outings (and forums) I have even shared about the subject, the key aspects and approach to make it easy and comprehensive for starters to try it out. Those who can still recall the outing with Che' Ahmad Azhar - one of the actual street outing done with many professionals including those from Reuters, EPA, AFP, NST, BH etc etc...CHAP AYAM (hahaa!!!) and of course yours truly's CHAPTERSimages - participants were informed on the do's and don'ts, the boundaries, how to plan the shooting path and sketch, "offensive vs defensive" approach....and many more....and it was all for the love of sharing knowledge - nobody made huge moolahs from it and everybody learned new "valid" stuff.

...but couple of months later, massive groupies were born, hooked a DSLR on their neck, went out to the streets, thought that they are doing something great that nobody has done before and started to became bigheaded to arrogantly declare - HEYYY!! WE ARE IT.
...much to the amusement of those who has been doing street photography for a couple of decades, of course!!
Mark this and never forget this at all - it is not at all about "busuk hati" or "dengki" on the "suck-cess-fool-ness" of that founder - that is his rezeki, berkat, halal or not, it is not for us to comment, just be it - what the real players are really concerned about is the sense of responsibilities, the ethics, the dangers they are exposed to...and they just take things lightly, ignoring some inputs by those who has faced some troubles while doing similar stuff for real....

You can do your own search to read the article and a learned reader would easily detect the inconsistency of statement and the vagueness of knowledge of this (*cough)street (*cough) shooter. For instance:
+ In a composition, the key ingredients are - the main subject, the background/foreground, the supporting elements. Of course it has to be connected. If it doesn't, maybe you went to the wrong "sifu" lah!!! How do you shoot "kata-kata"? You might be able to shoot "verbs" if you are trained as a photojournalist....understand what is a "verb"?
+ If you were not trained to anticipate the better call your sifu and ask for refund!!! It's like you reading a whole novel but what you understood is just the picture on the front page.....
+ Being ethical by smiling? Ethics is not just about smiling!!! It comes prior and past the shots done. Wait till one day a guy slaps your forehead for doing your street-arts stuff...then you try smiling at him, see how it goes.

You don't know you are putting yourself in a very dangerous position and all that - just for fun?

Daymm....I can really understand how tragic it was for Ian Ahmad (NSTP) and some other photojournalists and lecturers to read this!!!

I would encourage the newbies, starters, beginners to really do a thorough search on the subject that you want to learn and try. Find the person who has the real experience and knowledge, a qualified professional is a human being, it would not cost you RM300 per session of teh tarik or YM chat!!!

Acid test - so, you are a street photographer...pop quiz!!!
What is iN-PUBLiC?
Who is Henri Cartier-Bresson?
Name one of the widely exhibited work series by Trent Parke?

If you cannot answer those, you should realize that you are just wasting your time, dude.

Be a responsible photographer. Stop making a fool of yourself.
Slogans on those shirts that go like:
"Photography is not a crime"
"I am a photographer, not a terrorist"
"Shoot without fear"
- you wanna know what these words really mean?

To a burglar:

To any educated human:

The burglar easily identify his target.
The educated human starts to get conscious - lost of natural beings of potential subjects - and those who are really annoyed may just move away from the area - no subject to shoot.

Get it? NO?
Ok simple as this - you don't show your equipments in public. You don't tell people you are carrying stuff in that Crumpler of yours. It is dangerous.....and after you scoop your shot and you use it for other than the allowed arena by law, you will find your self in trouble.

Real street shooters around the world don't go out on the street like a porn-star dickhead. What more in a mob sporting glamor t-shirts.....and loads of equipments!! Some pro street shooter use single body & lens. Even point & shoot camera, with certain capabilities/functions..because (here's another free lesson for you) the presence of a huge DSLR (and a freaking idiot who's smiling and try to look cool behind it!) would just destroy the natural beings of the subjects.

Street photography is NOT 200% ABOUT YOU!!

Be aware of glamor-groupies and the glamor-hogs in FB or anywhere. It is ok to join them if you are just determined to do something in your free your time, spend some money and all, nothing wrong with that, it's your life BUT PLEASE try to be safe at all time and most importantly BE RESPONSIBLE TO YOUR SUBJECTS...and what you do with what you have scooped. for those who really want to do it serious rather than s to quick stardom, find a true professional who knows the subject and have years of experience and track record. Real professionals are always willing to share knowledge and open up opportunities for those you dare enough to approach and show your works to them. That's how I started my journey and I still have frequent discussions my mentors.

I wrote this because I could not stand anymore listening to my friends story about their family members being followed/ harassed by these bunch of people. So, if you don't like what I wrote, it's ok. I don't like your attitude in the first place anyway but I am just going to be polite and say - thank you very much, for wasting your time!! :o)

...but stop and think:
If one day you found a photo of your wife/fiance/girlfriend/YOUR MOM?? a certain position that "revealed her assets and whatever"
being caught by some street photographers and posted up/ viewed and shared by many....then you might know how damaging it has been all these while...and what are you doing about it now?

Hey...have a look around, who knows maybe there's a shot of you squatting and having a fag? Seriously....scout around.

So, next time when you see a bunch of people with DSLRS focusing on you, you should know your rights....already.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The time is mine

For the past couple of months, things have been moving quite fast. I had three trips to Labuan, one trip to Kota Kinabalu and then moved on to Kuching. Planning for more trips in 2011. Jobs have been coming in, despite the fact that I have not printed any business card yet!! Had a good holiday with the family, went up to Perak then down to Segamat for Hari Raya Haji, then up to Kuala Terengganu till Kota Bahru. Yeah, life have been fine. Alhamdulillah. How time really flies - a year has passed by since I left Petronas and I have never regretted my move at all. Alhamdulillah.

The "struggle" to make a living with my DSLR equipments continues. "Struggle" in this instance is defined as the effort and discipline I had to put in, not much to do with the difficulties of surviving or what. I have my plans and strategy, which mostly yet to be executed in full, some are not even being disclosed to my close family members - not that I don't trust them but I have learned my lesson well - ideas are best to be kept incubated within my own boundary, because some others may shamelessly take it up and claim all the glory for it.
The journey to continue living this "new life" I have decided to have is quite amazing and not entirely as easy as it seems. I have highs and lows which jot down in my life journal which I fondly name "The Book Of Torque: Chapter 1" which I have started writing since February 2008.
At times, I really expressed my feelings in the book, which helps a lot to release the pressure I am dealing with. Whatever I wrote in it, everything is based on my sincerity to speak out my mind and that once the pressure is off my system - instantly or gradually - I can focus on my other journals i.e. the book of ideas, the book of planning & execution....not merely about jotting down stuff but to make it work and reap the benefit from it.
I guess that is why I want to get my kids to write journals as early as possible, the ones they now have is about what they do during holidays and free time.
Documenting our life - expressing our mind in a journal, is something that not many would be able to do seriously for whatever reasons they have.
Me, I do it as and when I feel I need to do it, not everyday but enough to leave the memory of me and what I have in my mind over the years that I lived.

Nowadays, I tend to need more than 24 hours a day to do all the stuff that I have in mind. Now that I am on my own, I realized that I am more choosy to spend time with anybody else unless it is going to bring in some benefit to me, my family or my business. Which means that I don't alow MLM and the similar stuff to get in my way at all (Ahahaahaa!!!)....and TT sessions too, I don't want to sit down and talk with nothing to achieve at the end of the session. Even phone calls, I would very much prefer it to be short and direct to the point. I get pretty much annoyed when the person on the other end of the like asking me if I know him or not....sheeesh!!
Quick, short, precise, and move on. Time is precious. I will spend it the way I want and not the way others want it to be spent - like what it was back in the corporate I am in total control of my time and no freaking "policy" is there to be followed. I make my own policy, I am in total control. I am really enjoying this. Being in total control of my own time. My own more having to be in a meeting with their superiors at more stupid morning meeting with no result and more listening to smart asses who just have to speak out their stupid thoughts to impress the bosses in a name it. I really love to be free from all those stupid meetings, after 13 years, this one year of freedom really is a good break that I have long deserved!!

I would say the best part of being free to do whatever you want in your own time is you get to do your stuff at a period of time where you know you can perform the best. No pressure, just the joy of doing the stuff you like to do. Discipline is there, of course, otherwise you will get nowhere.
Only slaves have to complete their jobs at the given time and be there whenever wanted by their masters, that is not discipline - not to my definition at least!

No, I am not making fun of what others have to deal with - those who have to come to office by certain time and get things done within certain hours, then get a big fat salary by the end of the month, maybe big fat bonuses and promotion for being a good boy/ girl to the eyes of the management...and all that jazz about being a corporate, I am not making fun of what you all have to deal with but I am merely sharing my feeling of having the freedom to own 24 hours a day to my own self.

For the past 12 months, I have experienced how it is to really have my own 24hours a day. Alhamdulillah. I just love it!