Side Note: All photographs in this entry were taken with Olympus PEN E-PL1. All images were post-processed.
As I have stated in my previous entry, the Olympus PEN allows me to get right back to basics, starting photography fresh, all over again.
I have only the E-PL1 body and a humble 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 kit lens. I am setting aside the mighty E-5, the versatility and sharpness of the High Grade lenses and just strip myself down to bare essence. Although I have always reminded myself that the photographer is the one producing photographs, not the cameras, I too, like any other geeks out there can get carried away with the worldly temptations of better high ISO performance on the camera and lusting for faster and longer lenses. Sometimes, after producing a shot, as satisfied as I was with the image outcome, I did ask myself, would I be able to produce the same output with just maybe a kit lens? The answer has almost every time turned out to be hauntingly YES. Then why use such a powerful camera and lens in the first place?
At the side of the entrance to a Chinese Temple.
Guardian of the door.
We are taught to get the best in everything, to compare and discard the inferior products. However, the painful truth is that a better camera does not necessarily mean you will produce better images. By using a professional grade camera does not make you a professional photographer, if you are not able to master the demanding technical execution and generate strong artistic vision in your works. I fully agree that the tool itself is important for the crafter to get his masterpiece done, but without the skills, dedication, passion and love for the craft, the final product may not exhibit the quality and satisfaction no matter how great the tool was used in the first place. You may have the canvas and really expensive high quality oil paints but if you can’t paint, you will not be able to produce something better than a child with an artistic mind drawing away with merely a pencil on his plain white paper.
Unburned incense coil.
Love the lines.
A really grand Sikh Temple
Everything looked so alive.
Everyone is so friendly in the temple.
Eating free Banana Leaf Rice.
I don’t want to be labelled as just a photographer who uses a professional gear. I am proud of my E-5 and am really satisfied with all my current line-up of Olympus 4/3 lenses (oh my, wonderful creatures those are). Consequently, people start to associate me, my photography work and my artistic vision with the tools that I use. They claimed that “I could do what I do because I use Olympus E-5 and this and that lenses”. Olympus E-System is a great system, no doubt, and I have explored the wonders of photography world with E-System this far, I enjoyed using the system thoroughly. Nevertheless, associating everything that I am to my camera is not the way I want people to see me as a photographer.
You do not ask the writer what typewriter he uses if you think his article is good. You do not ask what paint brush a painter uses when you awe at his magnificent painting. Instead I would ask where they found the inspiration to produce such wondrous piece of art, and the challenges and difficulties that they faced to translate the ideas and vision in their minds into their artistic output. Similarly this applies to photography as well.
I am NOT my camera, my camera does not define me or my photography work. I am a photographer (not a good one yet, a work in progress), I am certainly not just a random dude using a camera!!
Mini Statues lined up
Lovely side lighting creating 3-dimensional effect.
Who says the 14-42mm kit lens can't do bokeh?
Therefore, I hope detaching myself from the Olympus E-5 temporarily and snapping away with the basic Olympus E-PL1 and kit lens can realign myself to the fact that photography is a lot more than just camera and lenses. There are many restrictions with the PEN, no substantial grip, slow AF, no direct dials or shortcut buttons, limited maximum shutter speed to 1/2000sec, no zoom and slow aperture (kit lens only) and basically, there are no bells and whistles with this setup that I use.
One camera, one lens.
One principle actually: simplicity.
I have always believed in simplicity. In my photographs, I usually only have one subject with one story. I tried my best to minimize clutter (though sometimes I failed to do so) and present a plain background. Yes, there are a lot more complicated approach with multiple subjects and layers and layers of hidden meanings infused together in one supposingly complex photograph, but I like to keep things clean and straight to the point. This is my own preference at the time being, as I mature in my journey of photography, perhaps my perceptions will evolve. For now, simplicity works best for me. The PEN with a kit lens could not get any simpler !!
Wanton Noodles for lunch at Petaling Street
The series of photographs as shown in this entry were taken from a shutter therapy session with Jasonmumbles and Ivy last Sunday at a Chinese Temple and a Sikh Temple at Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur. PEN, getting me back to basics, was refreshing.
I believe it is important to get back to basics, take a pause and reflect on our journey in photography from time to time. What say you? Share your thoughts, and of course, some passion for PEN if you love the system !!