28 Apr 2014

Looking for light

There are normally 3 things that come on top of everything else when I'm out taking pictures, and those are subjectcomposition and exposure, in that order. Obviously the process is done quickly and half intuitively, but it's always the subject what catches my attention first and asks me to capture it, and once I stop walking and raise the camera, framing that subject in the most powerful way becomes the priority, while exposing it appropriately is next. This is the progression I have followed in my approach to photography since I started taking it more seriously last year, and it seems logical to me, as the main force that propelled me into this art was telling stories, thus subject was always the key element. Framing and exposing are the technical means to give body to the content.

Primary colors, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Patches of light, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Sunset romance, GM1 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
Organic and inorganic, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
But there are more things to photography than those three, obviously, and my intention is exploring them one by one, step by step, to broaden my understanding of this language and, hopefully, get better at it. Things like movement, abstraction, style, are a few that I have yet to embrace and start practicing in my photography, as are many others, but I'm in no hurry: I photograph primarily for myself, and as long as I enjoy this journey, I will go ahead at my own pace, wherever it leads me.

Glossy and matte, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Enclosed by concrete, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
The only way is up, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Light at the end of the tunnel, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
But there is something else that, even tough I knew it was very important from the beginning, I never really paid it much attention consciously; it was always there, and my eye was aware of it, but only at an unconscious level, and it is only recently that I have come to realize how crucial it really is, and how much better my eye and my photography would become if I just train myself to have this element always in mind first and foremost, even before the three elements I mentioned at the beginning of this post. And this is nothing but light.

Chain, shadow & leave, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Duplicated reality, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
The sacrifice of the upper side of the leaf, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
I had read and heard countless times how important it was to study, understand, and look for light in photography, but I never really understood the deeper implications of what this really meant until now. It's as if my photographic journey had been a walk in the midst so far, and now suddenly the fog clears and everything becomes sharper and more defined. This doesn't necessarily mean that my pictures will magically turn better from night to day, but it definitely is impossible to pass a threshold in photography until you fully comprehend the mechanisms of light and its visual impact. Therefore, that is the main goal I have set for myself in the coming months: to be more aware of light, of how it works and how it shapes things, of how it hides and how it suggests. I am going to wittingly look for light from now on, and I'm going to train my eye to see it, understand it and, ultimately, capture it.

Evening clouds I, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Evening clouds II, GM1 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
Sun lamp, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
The end of the day, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm

7 Apr 2014

Vanishing Bangkok: a walk among 'soon to disappear' quarters

Bangkok is a fast changing city: what today is considered the latest trendy spot will soon be abandoned, and once deserted and forgotten there is little hope of a recovery, for this city seems to have a very short-spam memory: why wasting time and money maintaining and renovating what has become old (though it probably has just a few years, let alone decades) when you can spend a bit more and built a completely new mall instead? It seems there is no lack of space nor money, as new high level constructions sprout everywhere in the city while equal numbers of buildings get deserted or even left unfinished.

The last breath, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Eyes that will soon close for good I, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Eyes that will soon close for good II, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
There are thousands of people living in humble huts in small neighborhoods around Bangkok, but the frenzy urbanization is quickly threatening their quarters and, one by one, those are being demolished to build yet another condominium or shopping center. There is nothing that can stop this fast developing (until maybe it's already too late) and the Bangkok that once was is fast disappearing. There seems to be no possible coexistence of both ends of the spectrum, as one must disappear in order for the other to grow, and this situation is not likely going to change any time soon. The only thing left for us to do is to go, see and capture these places before they are gone for good.

The long shadow of civilization, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Of wheels, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Early morning me, along a group of photographers, roamed around a neighborhood in the vicinity of the Makkasan market and old train station, seeing how some houses have been already demolished while others still remain on their feet, defying the ominous future that fast approaches. Between debris and rubble we discovered beautiful graffiti, and the people who inhabits this area were going ahead with their daily routines as if nothing would ever change. For houses come and go, villages disappear, entire cities transform with time, but there is something that always remains unchanged, no matter what: the stubborn determination of the human race to adapt to any circumstances that might come, and survive.

Makkasan market, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
The egg seller, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Makkasan train station, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Recess in the shade, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm