Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Post Apocalyptic Ninja

I'm writing this on a Wednesday morning while listening to a Contracts lecture recording. I'm reassuring myself that I'm still taking notes where I hear something important or interesting, but who knows really. Law is a lot of study, and a lot of repeating the mantra: 'I love law', while feeling overwhelmed by the never ending lists of cases, and persisting with my Japanese Mildliners and yellow post it notes. But there is always some silver lining, like how great the shoot Tara and I squeezed in last Thursday turned out.

Shooting with somebody new is always a really fresh experience. It's riddled with unknowns. Somebody new won't know how I work behind the camera, and what things I look for in a photo, and what I might like them to do in the shot. Everyone has different feelings about what they want in a photo, or what they'd like you to capture, and how they feel and act in front of the camera. Everybody is a little different, and shooting with somebody new is honestly a magical experience in that it feels like the beginning of a really special relationship. Every time Tara told me she really liked a certain shot, I felt that I was learning something more about her, and I was getting closer to capturing who she was. I think it's important to take photos of people where they themselves feel like that image of them really does capture how they feel and see themselves. After all, it's their face, their body - surely I have a duty as a photographer to endeavour to portray them at a level which feels real and accurate to them. It's not just my perspective that matters.

I think it's this that gives me the most satisfaction when it comes to photography. Portraiture gives me a unique opportunity to get to know somebody, and also to do something for them. To make somebody feel that this image that I've taken of them really feels like who they are is a really big deal, and makes me glad that I do photography at all. It's one way where I can give back to the people I care about, or just use my skill for other people's happiness. That itself is very valuable. My photographs don't necessarily need to make me money for me to feel like photography is worth it. If I'm doing something that makes people happy, and that somebody can connect with, I think I can be happy.

A word on Tara: she has a really unique sense of style. I don't come across many people who dress like Tara - she uses colours in a way that I personally couldn't fathom, and the silhouettes she creates with her clothes are such a marvel. On many levels, she is fashion goals, and I'd like to learn more from her just by observing and spending more time with her. If anything, I just want to watch the explosion of colour and texture and pattern that is Tara and I hope to run into her on campus soon. I feel we had really great conversations and just had so much fun getting to know each other as we explored parts of the city that were right under our noses but had never been to. This is also something I like about portrait/fashion photography - inevitably, you grow closer to the person in front of your camera the more time you spend with them. You get to know their likes and dislikes on an aesthetic level, as well as their insecurities, as well as parts of themselves they really embrace and are proud of. You find out more about who they are and what they do and what they care about. In between newly-discovered alleyways and crouching in the grass, you become friends.

It's true that photography for me, is often a gateway into a friendship. It's perhaps not the most organic way for a friendship to blossom, but it is my style. I hope to be having many more of these adventures, in between endless law readings and sushi at that spot in market city.

Checking out for now (and checking into my Contracts textbook). Have a good rest of the week, kids.
M, x

Tuesday, 1 March 2016


Forward Motion

I haven't been taking photos the past two months of 2016, and a part of me mourns this fact, and there's a part of me that's okay with it. The first couple months of this year have been difficult for me. Like always, there are always good days, but there were also difficult moments. January was incredibly busy, so I didn't end up mustering up the energy to go out and take photos, and February ended up that way too. But I also know this isn't a very good excuse. So I'm trying to get back into the game. Dearest Alice reminded me recently that I didn't need to construct an image - and that's true. I don't need to compose everything from scratch. I don't need to have a clear vision of what I want to achieve one day. It's okay to just go out one day and capture something. I'd forgotten what that felt like, and heading out to the MCA and the Rocks with Kalppana really reminded me of that.

Kalppana is a person who is really brimming with energy. I've never had a dull moment with her, and even though we haven't known each other for the longest time, it's always such a pleasure spending time with her. I've also never met somebody who is so shameless with taking huge amounts of photos, and I really love that. I feel that sometimes I'm possibly too self conscious, or I feel that getting people to take photos of me is too awkward. Kalppana showed me that that doesn't need to be the case, and I really truly appreciate that. I honestly believe that a good photo of yourself can go a long way in giving your self confidence a boost, even if it is on an aesthetic level only. And if anything - it's something that I needed this week.

My week has been a lot of ups and downs, I've been hit with a lot of restlessness that comes with waiting the extra month for university to start, and some other thoughts and feelings have been bothering me too. I've been cooped up a lot at home too, partially out of necessity, but it didn't help. It meant I was trapped with my own thoughts a lot, and it wasn't doing me any good. So given my situation, I'm really glad that I was able to do something different today, and inject some happiness into myself. Going out one day, visiting a place I haven't been to for a while, having a lovely lunch with a dear friend - these were good things for me. I needed to get out of the house. Picking up a camera again was also really therapeutic (surprisingly so), even though I didn't any clear goals for images in mind.

Something else that I've been reminded of is that I don't need to be the best at something. I'm not the best I could be at photography, and I may not always take the best photos ever, but that doesn't mean that I should cease photography as a worthwhile endeavour. Not everything I do should be results driven. I like photography, and if I like the process of taking long walks, getting excited about good lighting, or good backdrops, and taking my time framing and taking shots, then I should keep at it, no matter the end results. And just because my DSLR is heavy, doesn't mean I shouldn't make the effort to carry it out sometime.

Don't make excuses, Michelle. Just do it (so says your favourite sportswear brand, Nike).

I hope that the rest of this month, and the rest of the year, will turn out alright. My pessimism means that I know better than to hope that I'll have the best year ever (the overwhelming odds are definitely not in my favour), but I will endeavour to make the most of it. I'm fairly happy with how February turned out, and even though March currently looks like it might have some rough patches, I know I'll be alright. And even if I do have a bad morning, or afternoon, or night, or day - there will always be tomorrow. The world isn't going to end because something went wrong. I'm stronger than that, and I know better.

All the best.

And doesn't Kalppana just look beautiful?

Bye for now,

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