Sunday, 22 January 2012

POV: An Evolution

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

It's a  curious thing evolution. Not the kind of evolution that most Republican Presidential candidates unintelligently profess (or pretend to) not to believe in, but our own visual evolution...our visual maturation.

Last night, I was going through my photographs from the week I spent attending the Angkor Photo Festival in Siem Reap and, whilst I hadn't any plans to seriously photograph there, I nevertheless did manage to grab a few hundred of shots. I had no specific storyline or photo shoots in mind, played the tourist and just photographed whatever took my fancy.

I left my Canon 5D Mark II in my hotel room, and only used my M9 fitted with an Elmarit 28mm f2.8 during that week wherever I went, and it was liberating -but also challenging to some degree- to be using a rangefinder with only one lens.

Looking at my photographs, I isolated the four you see above this post that I believe illustrate the visual maturation I've been through since I started photography in earnest some 12 years ago. The top two are the shots I used to prefer almost exclusively during the first few years of my photographic trajectory...simple, uncomplicated, candid, pure travel photography....those I call perhaps undeservedly the "lazy" shots. Although these are made with a rangefinder and a wide-angle lens, I used to make similar photographs using a 70-200 lens, staying at some distance from my subjects. I no longer do this,  especially with the gear I now prefer to use. That being said, this type of photography is currently my least favored.  It's a milestone in my visual maturation.

The one of the caretaker monk at Wat Bo is a chiaroscuro portrait; the kind I like when making a simple "one-subject" photograph. It takes a little more planning and setting up, and is obviously much more dramatic than the "plain-vanilla" top two.

The bottom image is the type of photography that appeals to me the most at this stage. It's far from being a great photograph, but comparatively is more complex. It's not as multi-layered as a street photograph, and is just of dance performers dressing up for tourists at Angkor Wat...but is much more interesting than the above three; at least to my eyes.

A few years ago, when I definitely moved to digital photography,  I decided -for space reasons- to cull my slides, and must've thrown out thousands of what -to my eyes then- were crappy shots. I only kept the "good" ones which are largely similar to the top two photographs...simple and uncomplicated. Who knows? Perhaps I threw a few slides that would have now been "keepers".

It's why I no longer trash any of my image files....unless they're really bad, really really blurry or beyond any fix. With digital files, physical space (as in filing cabinets or whatever) is no longer an issue, so all images are saved and archived....one day, they may be keepers after all!!