Ponderings: On taking photos

It’s been a while since I posted. Mostly it’s a combination of not having anything to post/not feeling inclined to post either because they aren’t that nice to be posted, or they are too personal to be posted. Still trying to work my way around the personal part, but that’s another story for another day.

Today’s post will be on my thoughts on taking photos. This came about mostly because I just returned from a holiday to Japan a few weeks ago, and made me realise certain things about me taking photos. But first of all, a quasi-quote that I stumbled upon yesterday. Well maybe not yesterday, but I wrote it down in my book-of-things-I-read/heard-that-needs-to-be-written-down, and I came across it again yesterday:

“Take photos of what you love, and you’ll love the photos of what you take”

There were two ways in which this quote struck me.

Of course there is the literal meaning of the quote – that you will love the photos you take, if they are photos of things you love. In a rare moment of non-procrastination, I got started on my travel journal one week after I came back from Japan, which meant that I had to sort through my photos and look for the ones that I want to add to my travel journal. For the first time in a very long time, I could barely find any photos to include in my journal. Which is a shock, because I am usually indecisive in choosing photos, because I like so many of them (yet can’t include them all at the same time), rather than the opposite. It’s not that I didn’t like Japan, but during my travels, I was finding it difficult to really enjoy it and often I had to force myself to enjoy the things around me, rather than letting my heart wander to other places I rather be.

As I look at my photos, it occurred to me that this translated to the photos I’ve taken. I was taking photos to remember the places I’ve been to for mere documenting, not so much because I had strong emotions to the places I’ve been. It came through in the slipshod-ness in which the photos were taken too – photos taken in a rush, just snap and go, rather than focusing on getting the right composition, or checking the photos afterwards to see that you actually got a good shot. Of course it would be a exaggeration to say that I hated the all the photos I’ve taken (though there were some that came pretty darn close, made worse by the photo quality). It was just that I felt more of “oh let’s take a picture of this place just to remind myself I’ve been here” rather than “wow this place is so wonderful I have to take a picture to preserve the memory”. It was really a lesson learnt, on taking the right photos, on spending time, and to immerse in the surroundings. (Though I have to say I’m only 2 days into my travel journal, and perhaps the remaining 7 days or so might prove to be different. I hope.)

The second thing this struck has to do with my daily photo taking habits. I might have mentioned in an earlier post before (I can’t remember), but I struggle with taking daily photos. I like the idea of Project Life, the whole documenting everyday moments, but I find it hard to justify whipping out the camera daily for that purpose. In a way I find it sad that I don’t find my life interesting to be taking photos like that, compared to the people I follow who always have something to document every week, be it just a good meal or a gathering with friends. Sometimes, I even find it hard to find something to scrapbook about, because most memorable moments aren’t crystallised in photos. It’s been an ongoing problem for me so far, when I get the urges to create, but have no idea or nothing to create. Uhm what’s my point in bringing this up? I don’t think there’s a point actually, just that I wanted to bring up what I felt with regards to this. Sigh.

I’m still as passive as ever, and output is pretty much slow or non-existent. Haven’t been absorbing much too, if my backlog of YouTube videos is anything to go by. Have been doing random stuff lately too, and the photo above is just one of them, slapped together within 5 minutes or so before I need to leave for my dental appointment. Despite the short amount of time put into it, I really liked how it turned out though, likely because I really identify with the subject matter. Maybe I’ll talk more about it in a future post. I’m not sure. But it feels good to have the keyboard under my hands and hearing the clacking of keys as I type away.

Until next time.

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