Revisit: Why Photography? Part II

It is interesting that when we think of photography, we only think about the visual until you are studying the medium and are thrown into a theoretical world of books that have been written on photography. Not until your lecturer points out that no one really writes anything about ‘the photograph’ or photography itself when it is kind of directed to the general public to make them understand photography in layman terms. It actually gets you thinking.

During one of my postgrad modules, Writing Photography, my lecturer set out writing tasks every week. In week one, the challenge was to write about ‘the most photographed barn in America’ or ‘origins of a photographer’. I chose the latter and decided to focus on myself. So going through my blog, I found this post I had written in 2009 and decided to ‘update’ it for my writing exercise. So, here goes…

Origins of Myself as a Photographer

I had a very interesting conversation with my mum just the other day about my passion for taking pictures.

Apparently, it started when she had a camera and I was a bit young. I would just take it and snap away. She used to scold me, but I guess I never listened. Otherwise, we (I) wouldn’t be here today.

I love being behind the lens rather than in front of it. What started as a hobby is turning out to be something I would like to do full time.

I have used film in 35mm and APS (Advance Photo System) formats, compact digital and now DSLR (digital single-lens reflex).

I just love being in this digital age of photography……no time to wait around for your pictures. Although, I somewhat miss the intensity of waiting for your films to be processed. Waiting to see if you nailed the shot or not.

Anyway, I just love the whole process of capturing life on a single frame and making it a personal journey of your life as a photographer.

I just love the beauty of storing pieces of ‘forgotten’ memories which can me shared years from when the picture was taken.

I just love the whole process and the lessons learnt from the whole experience. Be it fashion, sports, travel, nature, etc.

To me, photography is my way of showing the world how I see it, through my eyes and lens.

A passion I hope to nurture and let in grow within me.

I wrote the above piece on my blog on 11th February 2009, three or so years before I even considered studying photography. I knew deep down that I would have to get some sort of education or training in the world of photography. A foundation into how I can understand photography in depth, read it and use it as a tool to investigate and navigate through the world.

Have my sentiments over the years since I wrote that piece changed? Probably not, but what I am discovering now is that I am learning to be in the moment with photography. Pace myself even if the scene around me keeps changing. Wait for that moment and be patience with projects especially the ones with the potential to go on for years. Yet at the same time, I am unlearning bad habits that I have picked up along the way, like just photographing something because it looks good or pleasing to the eye. I need to stop thinking about how it makes me feel and just photograph it anyway. It may not look pleasing to the eye or make sense at the time, but eventually, it just clicks (no pun intended).

Coming from a background where photography is used as a tool to record mostly life events like birthdays, weddings, family gatherings etc., I am grateful and proud of myself for trusting the process of learning both the theory and practicalities of the medium beyond just taking family snapshots.

And there you have it. My updated version / revisiting and rewriting about my journey are a photographer. This also prompted me to start a series of vlogs where I talk about one particular picture. I am thinking of making this a regular feature on my YouTube channel. In a sense, it is my way of writing photography through spoken word and it is a working progress.

Click here for the playlist and tell me what you think.

If given the task, how would you write about photography? Or a particular photograph?


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