Hopefully, the last day of the year ends on a high note for you, as it surely does for me. In 27 December 2015 I posted the following :
To all my friends in photography and the creative industry.What does photography mean to you?
I am starting a response thread on Facebook here with the above question, to which I am posing to all my photographer friends, contacts and acquaintances and those that are involved in the imaging, curatorial and journalism disciplines. We now begin a new year soon, and the flood of images that are being shared on social media and the rest of the internet, no less, in printed publications, television and commercials continue to saturate our collective minds on a daily basis.
Comments and posts below, please!
The post has now ended after a full year and has solicited a few comments from my photographer friends, some short and some lengthy, and I really appreciate them all. I reproduce their comments below and thank you all for your messages and support. I hope photography will continue to inspire everyone in all ways – remember that photography doesn’t belong to anyone, any group or organisation, any festival, publication or agency – it belongs to you alone – and how you see the world around you. Whether you are a seasoned artist or a beginner – no one can take away the thrill of photographing from you.
Please feel free to send me your messages.
Looking forward to a bright and happy 2017 !
“Photography means everything. I love it . I make it. I teach it. I see the world because of it. It represents, responds to, translates, expresses, frames, excludes, exaggerates, reduces, witnesses, captures, documents, archives, celebrates, criticizes and forms the world as we know and experience it. It is alchemical and magical, precise and abstract, technical and experimental, theoretical, conceptual and formal. It can be surreal and real. It inspires writing – from Sontag to Berger to Barthes. It holds memories and death and life and the past. It is alive.” – Elin Slavick
Cyanotype of A-Bombed teacup fused to a plate and a bottle
“Photography is a method, tool, procedure, ticket, window of my purpose.
Sometime, I feel the purpose is growing and coming up to more concrete shape through photographing. And finding something new relationships of the people and communications with my surroundings. It is a discovery and achievement to take a photograph.
Still, I have not reached to a compilation of work yet. So that it is fun to take pictures and at the same time it is fatigue though. – Minoru Hotsuki
Tin plate & Fork -superimposing of time and space
“To me photography is just a component in visual art that can stand alone… something like saxophone in music… but it is not so huge to define what visual art is…
[What is it about photography that makes you tick] the illusion of what reality and truth is… and how people treat it as a “Documenting Reality” medium…
I think in photography, I’m those kind who collect items/ events through shooting a photo… I have a fetish of going through a series of images that look similar… eg Ho Fan Chon’s yellow to red series… Fish Encyclopaedia, books on buildings, beer encyclopaedia… as long as anything keeps repeating in a pattern that would attract me… don’t ask me why… I am still trying to figure it out. “- William Sim (aka Ikan Bilis)
“Photography captures a temporary moment and transforms it to time immemorial into a permanent timeline.” – Helen Oon
“My take on photography is often embroiled in how I perceive myself (in relation to photography). While I can’t say that I am a full – fledged photographer, I enjoy capturing images that might look as if it was a frame from a motion picture, or an image that gets people talking because they could relate to it or because they are simply intrigued by it. That said, I enjoy capturing street and landscape photography – the former tells a story of life in motion, while the latter tells a story that there is life in stillness. As a consumer of images – I enjoy the perspective of other photographers in these genres as they often reveal a refreshing take on something that we are used to seeing day in and day out. It’s having the privilege of a different set of eyes to see the world we all live in. It is all about building connections between each other in a world full of strangers.
Aside, I would like to highlight on nature and wildlife photography. As an environmentalist myself, I see such photos as important reminders that we are living in times when our lifestyle is very destructive to the environment, where the balance between development and nature is often undermined. Having just watched Racing Extinction, I realised that the typically aesthetic photos of wildlife can be more far- reaching than just being on glossy magazine spreads. In fact, it is amazing to see what doors (and minds) would open when a photo with a message is seen at the right place at the right time. If there is such thing as the ultimate achievement of a photo (or a series of it), it would be one that has the impact to trigger a change for the better.
Of course, not all photos has to achieve such grandiose purpose to justify itself. Each photo taken in its own right is a moment captured in this fleeting world where change is the only constant. A photograph in our hands is an evidence showing that we have lived then, and will live further on – even when we are long gone. I’ll end with this quote by Mickey Burrow:
“Photography is not selfish. Although it captures the moment, it doesn’t keep it. Photography gives back to the viewer the fraction of time which it once captured. Making it generous for years and even generations to come.” – Evelyn Teh
“A love hate relationship – a relationship that can never be understood except through time. It never reveals its nature unless you seek what it is you’re seeking. More often or not, it stands as psychological statements on the matter you’re at. And it’s liberating when you acknowledge its presence.” – Siong Chung Hwa
” I love photography for its human lens on the world, what it expresses about each of us taking these brief moments in a timeline which never pauses, from a perspective infinitely individual. I just love looking at things myself, and I love to also see how others look at things.” – Pey Pey Oh
“Photography has taught me how to see. How to pay attention to details and be more aware of my surroundings. To me photography is like painting. We manipulate the light to get the final photo that we want. The context of a photograph, itself is another argument which I think will be another debacle on its own.” – George Wong
“The photograph sometimes has the fortune of inviting that which escapes us.” – Geraldine Kang
“Photography is god’s gift to bad writers.” – Kevin WY Lee
I’d take the liberty to write something about “good photography” instead of “photography”, and I can only express my personal views, in sum: it goes beyond the borders of languages and grammar and yet has its “vocabulary”; it poses questions rather than gives ONE answer and causes an emotion &/or triggers a thought, in other words, it goes from being visual and tangible to being intangible yet important; and,
it is delivered with a skilled utilisation/application of light (“Photography” in Greek means drawing with light). – Kristin Man
“Photography started out as an excuse for me to go out and getting away from my family and still is one of my favourite excuse to stay late while hanging out with my friends. Over the years, this excuse turn into a routine that has became part of my life where the act of capturing a ‘great’ photograph become more as an act of preserving thoughts and memory.
Few years ago, the world seems big with Photography but now my work has become much narrow in perspective and I am slowly turning into a selfish photographer that is only concerned with my own fetish of my surroundings. Certainly, I consider myself as a good photographer, just not a great one.” – Kelvin Ah Kian
I know it’s a little bit late but this is what I found from my first photo-book release.
The adrenaline seeing the final image in a piece of paper always give me the satisfaction until now. Second is when holding a TLR and looking at the view finder from top.. Loading and unwind film.. Taking a deep breath and press the shutter and celebrating the sound of capture. – Flanegan Bainon
Passion, a flow of concentration of mind and mainly of emotions, not necessarily with the desire to change things, but to resonate to the outside and the inside. Capturing a fleeting, yet essential moment. To me the excitement is in being able to touch upon something that is meaningful and important in a visually exciting way, which guides to somewhere beyond, which does not even meet the eye.
I am grateful to photography as it has become probably the best part of me.
Your question on our most significant photographs had several parts, please allow me to give an answer from two different aspects.
The first really significant photo from me is the one I took via the broken window of a bedroom of an orphaned house in my home town in rural Hungary. The moment I saw the photo I knew for the first time in my life that it was art. I had my ultimate reward. I was fifty and that picture made me as a photographer. I called it later Homage to Van Gogh. ( http://www.schildtamas.eu/index.php/portfolio/exhibitions/ )
A few years later I went back to visit someone I had known since my childhood, but was afraid to visit for the last thirty years. She was my sister’s class mate, the beauty of our village when we were young. She became a pharmacist and married a young lawyer. The husband’s best friend, a gynaecologist, was their best man and also in charge of the birth of their baby. There’s always a first time and complications and medical errors ensued. The baby stayed alive but she could not have more babies. When I saw them last, the beautiful little boy was two. It was clear that the boy would not ever learn to speak, walk or even use his hands. Movements and sounds uncontrollable. Her husband had divorced her by then.
She has been raising her son on her own ever since. He was thirty three when I went to see them again and her hair was grey. We talked and talked and at some point I told her that I would like to pay tribute to her and her son with a photograph. She kindly agreed to. That became my „Everyday Pieta”
(http://www.schildtamas.eu/index…/portfolio/everyday-pieta/ ) – Tamas Schild
Like any other form of visual art, photography is a medium of expression. But unlike other forms of visual art, photography captures a moment in time, in its purest form, and retains it in perpetuity. One might still change the superficial character of a photograph – tone, light, exposure – but the essence of what that moment represents remains intact. To me, photography remains the most honest form of visual expression. – S Jamal Al-Idrus
For me photography is extremely personal. It pushes me to be curious about the world we live in and therefore, it keeps me moving, to really see, and to question what I see. I am never bored or lonely with my camera in hand.
In a world where too many photographs are produced, shared, and seen, I aim to tell new stories or old stories in new ways. Photography allows me to share how I see the world, the little moments I appreciate that others would often overlook, and to document my life in a way words cannot.
I hope that through my photography, the viewer travels. – Eileen Cho