Thursday, March 17, 2016

Three Images That Came to Mind

So I randomly asked myself today, out of the blue, what are the three images that I have taken which I am very happy with, and would be proud to show people who will be seeing my photos for the first time?

I know that if I put more thoughts into selecting my images by going through my archives I would take days to answer that question. However, if I were to mentally select 3 images that came to mind in 2 minutes, I came up with the following three images.

I thought, hey why not show you guys these images, and discuss them?

Deepavali
E-PL5, 17mm F1.8, 



Holi Festival
E-5, 50-200mm F2.8-3.5

Thaipusam
E-M5 Mark II, 40-150mm F2.8 PRO

There are the interesting facts about these selected images:

1) They were all taken during Indian cultural and tradition-related festivals. The girl with the candle was taken during festival of lights (Deepavali), the color painted faces was shot during festival of colors (Holi Festival) and lastly, the water splashed praying boy was taken during Thaipusam, a huge Hindu celebration during beginning of the year. I am very fortunate for all these beautiful festivals take place in Malaysia too. 

2) While I generally favor the use of longer focal lengths (second and third photographs were taken with super telephoto lenses, 50-200mm F2.8-3.5 and 40-150mm F2.8 PRO respectively), the first image was taken with a focal length which is not my favourite, the 17mm F1.8 lens. Though I find difficulty composing shots with this perspective, somehow this shot of the girl lighting the candles on the floor in a dark hall has remained stuck in my mind for a long time. 

3) These shots were not perfect. What I meant to say was, I could have done better, technically to get better images. The first image, Deepavali, I have accidentally used high ISO 3200, which was not necessary, as I could have gone away with ISO800. For the second shot, the moment was not the "peak" or "decisive". There was a better photo of the girls at their highest "high" laughter, but that image was out of focus (I do not blame the camera, I was too slow to react) and the resulting captured image was the next best thing after that best moment. Third image, it was not easy to get the boy to be in focus through the walls of water splashes, I decided to take the easy way out and focus on the front (water) instead. What, why can't I be lazy, sometimes?

4) All these three images have been published in local Malaysian photography magazines. 

5) Why are these my personal favourites? This is not an easy question to answer. Despite the imperfections, and many would argue I have many better shots than these (which is subjective and I am open to your comments), To me, I just look at my images based on emotions. I know, I know, all the master of photography would ask us to disconnect ourselves from emotions as we view our photographs and not let our feelings as we react to our own photographs cloud our judgement.  I have read somewhere recently that Art is the shadow of humanity. How can we not see humanity through emotions? Our emotions make us human, and if my photographs can evoke these said emotions, then I'd say I have successfully imprinted some content of art through my photography. These three photographs? They speak to me emotionally. At least to me. 


What do you guys think of these three images? Please do let me know! After all, like many of you here, I am also a learning photographer. 

24 comments :

  1. Nice work! Reflecting with the aim to improve is always a good thing, but I think you're being to hard on yourself :) What these three images do, much better than most, is tell a story. And given your explanations, I would suggest that's why you chose them as your top three. The story behind each image meant something to you. When we're able to capture a story within an image, one that is both intriguing and entertaining, it becomes so much more than just a snapshot. And suddenly the technical side of things can almost becomes irrelevant. Keep up the exploration Robin, but be sure to celebrate the successes ... for that's what these three shots are.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Jonathan, I appreciate them. I agree, having a story captured behind an image can make things very different, creating a more compelling and impactful outcome.

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  2. Robin, this is a super idea.
    You will have used emotion to choose your favorites, it's not possible to be devoid of emotive input (well for me anyway).
    The second and third images have an immediate impact with me, due to the emotion conveyed.
    The first image is very much an image type to which I would be drawn, I do find the foreground two candles draw my eye away from the main body of the image.
    Interesting that the image I least like is the 17mm, the others with longer lenses.
    Thank you for sharing these and the explanation, it is interesting to see the reasoning behind someones images, very enlightening.
    Carry on doing what you do Robin,your images are most enjoyable.

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    1. Thanks Alan. No worries, as I mentioned the choice of these images was a personal one, and made quickly in my mind. If I were to think and look at my many other images I would have chosen otherwise. I think it is crucial to reflect and discuss why we like certain images, the way we do.

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  3. Wait, photos have to be perfect?

    It's great that you can define photos as your favorites. Over a lifetime, I think it is difficult to choose. Obviously, you've chosen well.

    Until micro Four-Thirds, my 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 from 2004 gave me my best images, although the 35-100mm f/2.0 was responsible for a few since I only bought it in 2011. It's difficult for me to find something like that for micro Four-Thirds.

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    1. Oh yes, the magical 35-100mm F2 lens. I did somehow wish we have a smaller, revised version for the Micro Four Thirds!

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    2. Panasonic's 35-100mm f/2.8 isn't all that it should be, especially at full price.

      I don't think we'll see any such lens from Olympus. They're being much more practical these days.

      Your Holi Festival photo reminded me of people I knew in Germany during Fasching with the colorful paint.

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  4. I bond most to the middle Holi one. It is intensely satisfying and the subjects appear just right. The other two, demonstration of technique overcomes content.

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    1. I'd day otherwise, all these shots happened with limited window of opportunity to get the moment right. The second shot (Holi) was probably the most natural and quickest to happen, while the other two I had a few more seconds to compose and decide. Nonetheless, these are the kind of photos that we need to react very quickly to.

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  5. .. interesting how those pictures act on mind.. wide sea of kandle-lits fired up by girl whose face is in the dark - her eyes hidden - wide angle photo; close detailed coloured faces are "surrounding" very britht white teeth with no single color jot on them = special; millions water droplets causing "natural very soft bokeh" (in contrast to holes in his undershirt) making god's presence around his head aura .. stories, ideas, deep feeling, photographic means to tell sth inner

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    1. Very good observations! I could not have described why I liked these images better.

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  6. well camera gear is just a tool to help us capture precious moments even better. sometimes it is the imperfect that make us feel perfect =D I like the colorful portrait above Robin, it show so much fun and love at the same time

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    1. Tian Chad, Holi Festival is coming very, very soon!

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  7. I wish I had taken the picture of the candle girl - love it!

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    1. Thanks David! That is my personal favourite too.

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  8. I like Holi Festival. It's just a fun photo and can't help but smile too when seeing two friends have a good time.

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  9. the photos are great! they're all very beautyfull. humanity and beauty are the most important aspects of photography and they are all over them. i'm still trying to figure out why people give so much importance to equipment, resolution, sharpness, whatever...

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  10. You know that Henri Cartier-Bresson once said that sharpness is a bourgeois concept. There's more to photos than just pixel peeping, and you selected three very good ones. Emotion is the real indicator if an image works for you, or not. Me, I just love these - very well done, Robin!

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  11. Robin all great shots. They are respectful of another culture and highlight our collective and individual searches for deeper meaning and the joy of fellowship. I love the compassion that shines through in your street portraits too.

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  12. I really like the last shot. I tried to imagine how it would look with the boy in focus. I suspect it's actually better the way it is.

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  13. These three are not bad, but they are a bit too sweet for me. The kind of feel good images that stock agencies like a lot. I prefer your recent street work from Cape Town and the recent shutter therapy you did with the 17mm. They are much more honest and showing the world how it really is.

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  15. These are amazing shots especially the first which I think is very special indeed. Great idea.

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  16. I usually photograph inanimate scenes, so what struck me is that these are all pictures of people, and all are doing something that makes me curious. The first shot really draws me--the girl is pensive and possibly sad. Why? What is she thinking? The joy in the second photo jumps out, the vivid colors reinforcing it. I like these shots a lot.

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