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Tension, Passion and Skills

separateways(Nokia E7 – 8MP phone camera; post-processed in Lr4)

Today GXG features an intriguing shot by a reader, a mother who is turning keen on photography but hasn't really made a sortie into it. She titled the image, To the Right, To the Left.

First, some background why the picture turns my head.

If you are someone else's mother or father, at some point of time, upon contemplating or looking back at all the efforts put in your children and imagining or seeing them fly or fail one day, you will certainly experience the tension in the form of a climax of feelings yet quietly suppressed deep inside. This climax and the suppression usually go secretly underneath the conscious, with or without the owner knowing it.

Look closely, there is the same climax of feelings beamed from the scene to the photographer which somehow urged her to raise the camera and press the shutter release. The posters in uniform rectangular shapes are there in the background as if asking aloud in unison what if her two kids have all these knowledge, and the kids going separate ways and nearly out of sight adds a hazy tinge of uncertainties to the image. To many parents, such is the kind of common soliloquies resurfacing now and then, questioning the worth of the directions shown and the sacrifices afforded to their children.

I look at the image, the climax is there and the tension is there. But as a viewer I need to put in my passion when viewing it that way. If you're interested in listening further, read on.

Photography is painting with light and shadows, a commonly known near-cliché which always holds true. To excel in both arts requires persistent practices and then mastery of an array of aspects from the choices of tools to the changes of shades. Not only the drilling but also the growing knowledge in technicalities as a whole reward one's zest in the arts and cultivate the interest further. But from years of experience in photography, amateurish though, and with the last six years in a drawing class, I can venture to say that these are the decorative superstructures, not the base to build the arts on.

I would say that photography, and also painting for the matter, is first and foremost a way and a form of expression of the passion for life, for people and actually for all things. Ferment such passion in us and the world becomes festooned with inspirations in our eyes. We will suddenly discover inspirations all around us, waiting to be explored with question marks and exclaimed with exclamation marks and to be recorded with a camera.

It should not be required clarifying that both photography and painting need a trained way of seeing rather than just ordinary perceptions. Skills are necessary. But, first things first, it is the passion that gives grist for the mill, so to speak. Without passion, an image offers no concrete substance for an afterthought to linger on. An eye candy can be a novel image at first but would fast degrade into just another fainty attempt, leaving behind only a wistful sense of anti-climax to the viewers in the end.

Passion is solely needed in photography whether for a viewer or photographer. Honestly, passion is needed in the life one is leading.  


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