A lofty goal

Restlessness has its benefits. I was flipping through Robert Frank’s The Americans for the umpteenth time when I decided to search for articles about it, and came across this gem. It’s not exactly new–it’s written in 2008, to be exact–but the article, like the book, remain relevant to this day.

I found the following passage particularly encouraging.

“The Americans may have been the result of a man with a Leica and a Guggenheim, or it may have been something larger; a piece of art that asks more questions than it answers, that reveals less than it implies, that suggests more than it establishes, that loves more than it can.”

I’ve always tried to photograph in that manner, and have been accused of various things, from trying to be clever, to boring, to being deliberately obtuse. I do not completely deny the first charge, the second may well stick, but the third, I deny unequivocally.

My photographs may be deliberately vague, but not because I’m trying to be difficult. It’s just that a photograph that tells you less than it shows you have a definite appeal, something that will slowly grow on you rather than the instant fascination that lasts no more than a thumb’s flick away, to be forgotten until the next best thing comes along.

I just happen to believe, and continue to believe, that is the best way to photograph, for myself. That it is a lofty goal. One I will find rather impossible to give up.

Which reminds me, I have been accused of being stubborn too. That one is rather accurate.

I should be working*

I don’t usually get to shoot much when I am teaching a workshop, so when I got a few photos during a recent (short) walk out to Haji Lane with my Photovoice SG group, I was happy to let the photos stew in the heat of my 6-year-old MacBook Pro, and even happier to find that some of them still appealed after the requisite month-long “soak”.

This is just one of them. It’s always great to have material to look through, and especially when one is cooped up at home trying to rest a bad back. I’d love to be out there photographing, but having stuff to edit is better than looking at the ceiling, thinking “I should be working”.*

* I wonder how many people will get this rather obscure movie reference, especially when it was such a terrible movie.

Getting my bearings right

I’ve been sidelined by a recurrence of my old herniated discs problem for the past week or so, and have been on a diet of painkillers and lots of rest. I’ve recovered enough to make it to some activities (I think–that could be my misguided sense of immortality speaking), but I’ve also taken this time to have a long, hard think about where I’m going and how I’m getting there.

It’s difficult to get one’s bearings right when the target is moving all the time, and the photography industry is just like that. Things change, and I’ve got to move along with it. I don’t exactly have big plans, but I’ve at least figured some stuff out, and will be announcing them soon. Then we’ll go from there.

Other than that, it’s the usual day-to-day thing: just trying to survive. There will be lots of mockery to come, surrounding the phrase “we go again”, but for some of us, that is the reality. We go again, day after day. It’s all we know, and sometimes, it’s all we have.

Unstoried snapshot

Occasionally, I look back at some photographs I’ve taken with equipment that are loaned to me, I wonder why I did not end up buying them. Then I just go back to using whatever camera I have. Photographing does cure many ills.

Here’s a snapshot from when I had a loan unit of the Sony A7. I’m still working on a short review, more for records’ sakes than anything else, as everyone who wanted one would already have one.

Nope, still no story here. Nor am I trying to tell one. I just like what I saw. Hope everyone is having a good, long weekend.

© 2014 Callan Tham. All rights reserved.

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