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December 12, 2010 Leave a comment

I first toyed with photography when I was 17. My Dad bought a Canon Powershot G2, which was a 4.0 megapixel prosumer digital camera. It was the year 2000 and digital cameras were still pretty much a new thing. Digital SLRs were still non-existent (probably only the very top end Canon models were available but of course very expensive). With 4.0mp, I can blow up the pictures and put them as my desktop wallpaper. I was blown away by the details and clarity of the pictures taken on this camera. The digital camera allows me to instant see the photos I’ve taken. I could magnify the pictures to check if they were sharp or blur. Very quickly, I learnt how to use the basic functions of the camera including all its modes. I had a friend who knows about camera (because his Dad owns a few SLRs) and I showed him this amazing device. He too was also very amazed by the image quality of a digital camera.

Being able to take sharp, properly exposed pictures wasn’t enough. I aspired to be able to take pictures that are visually balanced, or well ordered. I discovered ‘composition’ and read basic photography books to learn about it. I read a lot of books to expand my knowledge on photography. I had a friendly version of Photoshop on my computer and have been playing with the software since I was 14. Everytime I come back with pictures in my 256 mb CF card, I will tweak my best photos on Photoshop. I learnt what you can do on Photoshop but mostly I played with levels, colour balance and sharpening etc. From the books, I was lead into thinking that SLR cameras were the best type of cameras and every guy wants a SLR camera. With a good SLR body, you only need to buy new lenses and never need to buy another camera again. SLR also gives the best image quality. And so, i waited for digital SLR to become affordable.

In around 2003, my friend I told you above got a Canon 300d from his Dad. 300d was the first amateur digital SLR but already cost around 1.8k singapore dollars if I remember correctly. In 2004, I used the money saved from serving national service to buy the 300d, with a 75-300mm zoom lens. Later I got an external flash and battery grip. From then on, I got very serious into photography. I will lug my camera gear in my Crumpler camera bag and walk around Singapore to take pictures. I don’t have any concept in mind when I take pictures. I just wanted to take beautiful, sharp, colourful pictures. Therefore most of the pictures from 2004 to 2009 were of landscapes, fireworks, pets, flowers, buildings and sometimes abstract.  did a bit of street photography. But when I took those pictures, I wasn’t trying to portray feelings of irony, humour or surrealism to the viewer. Those were pictures of people or objects on the streets which I find amusing and therefore took for my own pleasure. I realised that I never shared or discussed about photography during those years. I was simply self indulged in the process of making pictures, playing with Photoshop and on camera gears.

There was very long time that I did not touch my camera. I must have been very occupied with University. In 2010, I started working and needed a hobby that is sustainable and challenging in an artistic way. It also has to be something that is expandable and grows with along with me. That’s when I decided to go into street photography. I had the gears and I live in a city teeming with opportunities for street photography. I figured that street photography is more than what it is. It is limited only by the mind of the practitioner. I felt that I needed to exercise the artistic part of my brain, which I think had been pretty dormant for the past 20 years with me as a science and engineering student.

I’ve been doing street photography for almost a year now. I keep a Flickr account where I post my 100 best shots. Overtime I will feel some of the photos aren’t good enough and will delete them. I’m not forcing myself to adopt any style but I will continue to shoot and let a style, if any, develop by itself.

 

 

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