Deep Summer #2

Deep Summer #1

Exploring a new river path close to where I live and came across this stagnant stream. Because of the recent heat and humid conditions, algae and moss have overgrown this section of the stream and created a carpet of green which is amazingly still.

Summer Hols

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Back again on the Amalfi coast after a week’s visit in 2007. This time we are staying in Praiano, about 10 kms outside touristy Amalfi town. Not yet at the height of the summer season but it is already full of visitors and prices are astronomically high compared to other coastal resorts. More later…

Happy New Year 2019!

Window to the World ~ Conservatory, Chiswick Park, 2018

2018 has been an eventful one for me. We launched Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards 2018 in February, celebrating the 10th installment which saw some amazing entries.  A milestone achievement, which I’d like to thank all our sponsors, partners and the KLPA team.

In May, we gathered again at the KL Journal hotel for Photosymposium Asia, the second event discussing Photography and Social Change. The event had a small turnout but was intensive and our speakers gave insightful presentations followed by a popular open tabletop portfolio display.

The next weekend in May, I had another intensive weekend spent with the international jurors for the KLPA judging, followed by a long weekend stay in the beautiful city of Auckland, attending the Auckland Festival of Photography!

In July, I had the opportunity to visit Cortona On The Move Festival in Tuscany and saw some brilliant exhibitions and of course, sampled the wonderful Italian cuisine.  End August was spent in Kobe at Mt.Rokko International Photo Festival, where I reviewed portfolios and ran a portraiture workshop. This was followed in September with the setting up of the KLPA finalists exhibition and hosted awards presentation at the Whitebox Gallery in Kuala Lumpur.

Later in December, I was back in KL again to host the Two Mountains Photography Project 3.0 at the ILHAM Gallery. The opening reception was a great success and the Malaysian artists involved appeared on radio and television broadcasts.  In December, the finalists’ images of KLPA2018 traveled to Medellin, Colombia for a 4-week exhibition at the MUUA Museum, University of Antioquia, and will travel to the Centro Cultural Facultad de Artes in March 2019.

I take this opportunity to wish all my friends and followers, supporters and fellow photographers a very Happy New Year and I hope to meet some of you at the KLPA events and festivals. ~ Steven

 

 

Reaching for the peak

I just returned from attending the 2018 installment of the Mt.Rokko International Photography Festival, my sixth visit as a portfolio reviewer and also to present projects and run a workshop. I join many professional colleagues from the wider photography industry from across the globe as an invited guest with the main purpose – that is, to nurture young and upcoming Japanese photographers create more meaningful projects, strengthen their ability to project a strong story through their picture taking craft, which no doubt, all of them already have brewing inside them.

[ Also link to same post in Japanese at http://www.rokkophotofestival.com ]

The festival, headed by its visionary director Takeki Sugiyama, a surgeon by profession, and totally passionate for the ‘meaning behind every photograph’, who is also an avid collector himself, is run with typical Japanese efficiency when it comes to scheduling and timekeeping, and a certain familiarity that is unique to Mt.Rokko. The volunteer team and staff already feel like family after the very first visit.

Photos by Melanie McWhorter & Chikara Komura

Held partly in downtown Kobe for the exhibitions and having the reviews in close-quarter up at Mt.Rokko, makes for an interesting long weekend for the guests and photographers, but slightly inconvenient for day visitors wanting to participate in the workshops or presentations. However, I feel that this arrangement is already being addressed over the last two years to make the festival more accommodating.

Over the years in coming to Kobe, I have gained many connections and friends in the photography world, and have also opened my eyes to contemporary Japanese photography – it’s highly aesthetic based imagery, and the very important link to nature, family and tradition. I speak of course in general terms, and there are photographers who also make non-conformist projects that surprise.

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For Mt.Rokko, I believe that it has steadily gained the reputation of being a tight-knit photo community, and being a ‘portfolio review centered’ festival, it has the advantage of fully catering to photographers seeking to maximise their exposure in gaining valuable feedback through the expertly selected workshop mentors and international reviewers. Because of the proximity of the venues and the ability of the photographers to access the reviewers throughout the weekend, there are ample opportunities for casual conversations to happen – and I believe, even more for future installments – that these downtimes are vital to allow honest exchanges on a one to one basis, in addition to the scheduled reviews.

An advantage of being a small festival, the manageable numbers also help enhance the ‘community spirit’ and camaraderie of the participating photographers who come from all over Japan, and overseas as well, and I feel this is very important, especially for first- time reviewees, and more introvert photographers, and a unique feature for Mt.Rokko.

I have been following the progress of several photographers who attended the early installments of the festival and can happily say that many of them have gained new exposure of their projects and have gone on to win international awards, recognised in festivals or have exhibitions in galleries outside Japan. I can safely say that having attended Mt.Rokko previously, played an important part in their successes.

Since 2013, Mt.Rokko festival has been much praised for their purposeful and beneficial portfolio reviews and even as we had a smaller participation size this year, the variety and standard of projects presented were of greater depth and subject matter. This may be due to the stricter pre-selection process imposed by Takeki Sugiyama, the director to improve the overall photographic standard being presented to the international reviewers.

Part of the reason for attending a festival like Mt.Rokko and its portfolio review sessions is to make new connections with the greater photographic world, with international reviewers and also other photographers from Japan and overseas. Many opportunities can present themselves to participants – especially where their projects are unique or strong, and also where the participant makes the effort to communicate and interact in open discussions or during Q&As at the presentations.

I have known several past participants who have submitted entries to the Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards and have been successful in becoming finalists and also went on to be recognised in other awards and festivals. I am glad to see this happen. I am also seeing participants who have been awarded for their projects that have become stronger and more meaningful in their edits, over the years.

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The importance of education – that is, not only by the formal way but through personal development by gaining knowledge through experience and interaction, is vital to any photographer who seeks to advance and elevate his or her craft, both technically and artistically. Portfolio reviews are an effective exercise in receiving critical feedback and guidance in a photographer’s journey for deeper self-expression. I am grateful and honoured for being able to be a part, however small, of this journey with the Mt.Rokko participants.

Just Portraits

I’m currently in Kuala Lumpur, having attended the Mt Rokko Photo Festival last weekend as a reviewer (I will write an in-depth post about that amazing festival shortly), and I just had fantastic KLPA awards and exhibition, celebrating 10 years of the awards. The last weeks had been incredible,  making new connections with creative people and seeing many interesting photo projects, especially from young photographers, or even non-creative people attempting their first photo projects.

Meanwhile, I shot a few portraits below in preparation for a Street Portrait workshop this coming Saturday with my ‘new’ Nikon 1 V1 camera I got from Facebook Marketplace last month for a mere £100!

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Nadirah Zakariya

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Prakash Daniel

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Elena Herrero

Past Present Italy

Italy has a certain style and elegance that cannot truly be captured in pictures. The mix of culture, food, fashion, architecture, religion and a legacy so steeped in significant European history has culminated in a rich, thick, gravy of sensory and visual delights for photographers.

I was going through my archives in search of staircase pictures recently (see Simply Stairs ) and discovered several collections of images I have taken over the years in Rome, Venice, Tuscany and elsewhere.  I managed to select these to illustrate what I mean. It is also different from France, another country which I have visited a lot.

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Print Sale ! Jardin du Paillon, Nice, France

Thinking of a last minute present? Here’s a print you can have before Christmas. It was taken in the summer of 2015, in Nice, France.

I’m about to make a print order for this image, size 20×16 inches (50cm x 40cm), limited edition 10 only, Price $100 plus postage. I’ll be sending orders to Cambodia, Japan and USA, so there’s 7 prints remain in this edition.

Postage : Asia /USA $25.00, Europe $15.00.

Print on Fujifilm Crystal Archive satin or gloss, or Kodak Endura Metallic paper (nice!)
All prints will be signed, editioned and embossed, by me!
Send me a message on svllee@gmail.com

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Photos Paris

Approche.Paris

“ How can you talk about photography without talking about desire?” Hervé Guibert, L’Image fantôme. Photography expanded its scope to space and in volume in the 1960s (a development which then sped up during the 1970s).

This evolution gives metaphorical proof of the importance that contemporary art has acquired in the development of photography. Approche puts forward the hypothesis-and even bets on the idea that photography has an articulate and autonomous body whose two feet are firmly anchored to the contemporary scene. Moreover, the exploratory dimension of  photography (as it has been written during its protohistory) has paved the way for certain contemporary artistic expressions. “

 


Art is everywhere. Art is nowhere.

I am in Paris for a couple of nights to visit Paris Photo and also meet up with some photographers and gallerists who are exhibiting over the weekend at the satellite shows. One exhibition I was taken to visit was Approche.Paris which was housed in a multi-level building just off Palais Royal, on Rue de Richlieu. The exhibition showcased 14 contemporary photographers/artists with different approaches using the medium of photography and constructed mixed media materials to challenge the often misconstrued legitimacy of photography as a ‘minor artform’.

‘Contemporary art and photography are not mutually exclusive.’

More about Approche 

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