Editing

A friend of mine plans to publish an online PDF magazine next January and he has asked me to contribute some of my photos. Since some of the other contributors are names that I admire in their respective fields, I'm more than happy to oblige. :)

Anyway, so I looked into my image archives, trying to find the best images from the 2 years span I've spent in this field that hopefully can represent what I mostly shoot. When I finally edit them down to about 20 images it becomes clear that even though they are images that I'm pretty proud of (at least for now), there isn't any real connection between the images... It makes me realize that up to this point I only think of my photographs as individual frames. I never gave much thought to my photos as a collective works. I never worked on a project, be it personal or commissioned. I just, well, go out there and shoot whatever interests me. Sure, everytime I shoot, I know what I want to show and convey in each of my frame. I know how I want it to look like, through a particular angle of view and composition. Of course it doesn't always work like I want but there's always at least a quick and flowing thought in my head before I press the shutter release. I don't just randomly point my camera at everything and snap away. But now I'm starting to wonder to myself... what do I want to tell with my photography as a whole?

....Damn I'm getting all serious about this. :o

Anyway, for the feature in the magazine I don't need to be bothered by the image arrangements as my friend will layout the whole thing... but I'm thinking of arranging my own body of works. With only 2 years of shooting perhaps it's not going to be any good but I suppose nothing wrong with trying. What I find very interesting when I try to do that is the sequencing... what photo should be put before or after the other. What new context could appear when an old photo is put beside a newer one.

Yesterday I just purchased one of Stern's Fotografie Portofolio series, number 39: Elliott Erwitt. I was just looking around at the bookstore, not planning to buy anything.. But then I saw the book, I remember I almost jumped out of excitement. I tell you, it's really really rare to see any kind of photobook here in the small city of Jogja... the only photography books you can find is pretty much basic photography tutorials. And there it was, a book with 62 pictures from Erwitt. There were some others from the series, but the only names I could recognize were Andre Kertesz, Martin Parr, and Erwitt. So yeah it was a tough call. But in the end I went with the one with a dog on the cover. ;) And it's great, looking at a photograph in a computer monitor is nothing compared to looking at a 50x30cm photograph on your own hands. Anyway, I'm straying from my point here. Here's 2 pages from the books that show what I meant in the last paragraph:


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The left one is made in 1976 while the right one is from 1955. They're made quite far apart in time. But they're interesting because, first of all, they're rather similar in composition, predominantly made up of vertical elements: one guy on the left, and a tall vertical element on his right side (statue on the left pic, guy with kid on the right pic). And the greatest kick is... The statue on the left pic looks as if it's staring at the guy with the cowboy hat, while he in turn looks as if he's watching the kid on the right pic! Two very different scenes brought together into a unity. These two picture wouldn't work together as good if the sequence was reversed.

Also reminds me of an interview of Joel Meyerowitz by Michael David Murphy, he also talks a bit about "using pictures as a kind of building block of a visual language", and not just a random order of things.

So anyway... that's all for today.

What? My own photos? Well here's some random ones.


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Hey, wait a minute, those are digitals! What about that fucked up CCD in the last entry? Well, uh, these are from a new *cough* D80.

Cheers. :)

11 comments:

Wanderer said...

erwitt, d80, new magazine,
all year's end miracles compounded
:D

Matti said...

Hey, I really like your work and I added your blog to my favorite photographers links list on my blog. I hope you don't mind. :)

Naga said...

ehem*80*ehem ...

nyecan dung ... lantai 1 karo lantai 2 :-"

Wid said...

@Igor: hehe yeah I guess miracles do happen.

@Matti: I don't mind at all. ;) In fact I'll add you to my blogroll too, I quite like your recent photos. Keep it up.

@Naga: :p

Rony Zakaria said...

hei new camera?

Digital!

M8 Please :D

baz said...

anyar *cough* kamerane.
*hatsyii*..
hujan wid. musim pilek.

Sebastian said...

it's interesting to see you got to think about your photographs and work, because i had a pretty similar experience lately.

i was going through my photographs to submit 20 photos taken in 3 months (or so) to submit to david allen harvey's contest (which is over by now). first i had troubles findin photos i liked and then they just wouldn't fit together in any way. not as a series of portraits, not as a series of street photographs, nothing.

it was depressing to find little in my own work that i like, but in the end it helped me realize that it might be time for me to put more thought into my work ("body of work" is a very important term btw). so i think it might be an experience we both needed to set up new goals in our photography.

and i can just second what you say on photo books. it never really occured to me before to buy photo books, but in the last 2, 3 months i got several, and i just love the different feeling. sure, a print will always look better, then again a photo book is as good as it will get in most cases for us, won't it ;)

anyways. loved to see we had kinda similar experiences lately.

btw the photo-combo of erwitt you're showing is awesome, those photos really do work together in a way that just gives both an even stronger expression beyond the singular situations themselves (is that still english?).

and concerning the photos:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v349/miburoushi/Blog/DSC_0036.jpg that reminded me of friends of mine , they were travelling for a year, passed through yogikarta, makes me think how funny it must be to have all those ethno-tourists wandering around in your streets.

think i already told you on dA that i like the b/w photo with the cup (or whatever it may be), the space in the photo is really well distributed.

and http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v349/miburoushi/Blog/DSC_0052.jpg is great, i love it, wonderfully simple composition and color range, very geometric with a generously huge white space.

and congrats on the d80 ;)!

Sebastian said...

Just posting one more to get the follow-ups. Forgot to tick the box.

Wid said...

@Rony:
Semua barang yg kupunya dijual juga tetep nggak kebeli kalo itu :p

@Seb:
Haha, so did you eventually send in that assignment? Even when he said he'd postpone the deadline to mid november (I just start reading his blog since around september), I wasn't really feeling motivated... I guess I just wasn't ready yet for that kinda thing. Or perhaps I just don't want to make an ass out of myself with the current quality of my photos. ;) Some of his regular blog commenter really have amazing materials, you know. Btw have you seen the winner? Really interesting story. Perhaps due in part to the global warming issue it brought up... his photostory shows an extreme case of the much debated issue. I can't wait to see the other finalists as well.

For the tourist thing... well, this city is a tourist destination mainly because of its old javanese tradition still intact in the central part of the city, so we got quite a lot of foreigners everyday. But yeah, they really stand out in the crowd, and it's always kind of amusing to see them roaming around the place, as they can look really out of place sometimes. :D

And thanks for commenting the other photos too! :)

Sebastian said...

yes, i submitted 15 photos, so not the 20 possible ones. and they were not even a series, just really different photos. turns out in the end he wanted an essay. i sure wouldn't have anything coming close to that.

i don't like the winner's photos much. i don't like when people shift the camera trying to get more action and then the digital b/ws just lack character. read the exif and saw he was shooting with a 20d, the photos look like that. but sure it was about the editing too, the ability to tell a story.

mostly it's lot of "how do you feel today" talk over at his blog which doesn't excite me too much, just for the sake of talking to a magnum photographer.

fr. said...

wow, what a discovery your blog is, definitely bookmark worthy. i only have good memories of yogya, and it is nice to find somebody posting from there. i'll definitely stay tuned. (PS: i love the shot with the red plant on white background. subtle and very eye pleasing. yould make a great cover artwork)