Month: October 2007

Paint the World….with Truth?

Pigeon on Ledge-IMG 2418, Edit B-np

Yes, wouldn’t the “truth” be nice…

I’m a firm believer in the standard “X-Files” tagline: “The Truth is Out There!” But believe me, fellow brothers and sisters in Art, it is up to you to find it!

Well, as you may already have guessed, this is turning out to be absolutely different from what you thought it would be, at least, according to the “title” of the journal entry.

First, however, let me tell you about this image: It is a pigeon, of course, standing on the ledge of a very old, British Colonial, row house in Penang, more specifically, Georgetown.

These colorful shots of old houses is a new series I’m working on: I’m thinking of calling the series, “Distinctive Georgetown,” or something like that. My file of images is building in this filing cabinet of a photo-series – I better name the Series soon.

This is a macro detail of an old house on the corner of Jalan Irving and Jalan Krian.

As surreal as it sounds to me now, I was interviewed tonight on a local Radio show, and I think what I responded with to this questions, “What is it about a scene that makes you want to take a photograph?” – was pretty spot-on (my ‘approximate’ answer is below).

“For me,” I said, “I think very macroscopically, even when working on this Historic Preservation self-assignment. I look at the details and compose the details, the composition, the context of the image in my heart and mind first. If it seems like a worthwhile scene to work on, then I get my camera out, and I work on the shot I had developed in my mind.”

That’s a pretty close word-for-word, at least as far as I remember. My wife would probably say, “NONSENSE!” Oh…Not “nonsense” to my interview answer, but to my skills of listening and remembering. I think I have remarkable listening skills. She’s perhaps blinded by her own bias: She says I choose not to listen to her sometimes, and I tell her that it is a skill I’ve developed over the years, called “Selective Listening!” She’s not amused! I think it’s a hell’of’a skill and I’m considering offering it as a Short-Course for husbands of all time zones!

My Photography is not necessarily the “truth” – it is more closely linked to my Painted Version of the Truth! After all, there is only one reality, but for Photographic Artists, we provide the context for which that “truth“, that “reality“, is presented in the frame of a single shot at a particular time.

In my “Distinctive Georgetown” photographs, it is a close representation of “reality” but with my twist on each scene. That is what artists do, right, reveal their own personal vision to the canvas, the rock, the film, the print, or whatever.

In my next journal entry, I may discuss another type of “truth” that ALL Artists need to be on the lookout for and protect themselves against, and that “truth” is the sugar-coated kind, where the people you come across could be your savior, or the devil that stabs you in the back! And sometimes, if you’re not careful, they appear as your savior, then reveal themselves to you as the devil, their real identity.

Like I said, MAYBE, I’ll cover that topic next time. If I can perhaps, save one (or more) artists/photographers, from making mistakes that I’ve made, by telling a simple, if not, hard-learned tale of misery and the agony of deceit and treachery, then, it may be a tale worth telling…or at least I may highlight the finer points of the lesson….Mysterious? Yes… That’s OK…

More later.

Shaw’s Wisdom!

Though we have hundreds of photographs of Dickens and Wagner, we see nothing of them except their suits of clothes with their heads sticking out; and what is the use of that? -George Bernard Shaw, said to Frank Harris during talk about nudity. , “Views on nudes” by Bill Jay , ISBN: 0240507312. Focal Press Ltd, London and New York 1971, page: 14

 

Well, This Journal entry has nothing to do with any viewpoints on nudity, but I see a different angle to what Shaw is talking about here – maybe I’m wrong, but who cares!  It’s my Journal, so I’ll make mention of my interpretation of the quotation, so there!

Maybe I’m just in a really grumpy mood today, or what the f’ever! But, RIGHT ON Shaw! I’m not guiltless on this account, I do my share of taking photographs of the same subject in the same tired way as hundreds of other photographers have before me. You see this all the time on the photo-sharing sites. Even the crappiest of shots seem to be so over-done that it almost makes me sick! Then, if the person has a shit-load of “fans” then they just get inundated with “ata-boys!” Go f’en figure! Yeah, I’m relatively grumpy today, OK! Lumps? No! Not at all…I’m just trying to wrap my brain around how technically crappy photos get so many “ata-boys!” from viewers…It defies the laws of Physics and Good Taste!

“When the photographer takes to forgery, the press encourages him. The critics, being professional connoisseurs of the shiftiest of the old makeshifts, come to the galleries where the forgeries are exhibited. They find to their relief that here, instead of a new business for them to learn, is a row of monochromes which their old jargon fits like a glove. Forthwith they proclaim that photography has become an art.” -George Bernard Shaw, “Views on nudes” by Bill Jay , ISBN: 0240507312. Focal Press Ltd, London and New York 1971, page: 125

Yeap, you don’t have to like critics, but there will always be critics of everything. Better start learning to accept criticism because it’s out there for everything under the sky. My opinion is, however, that Photographers should never shoot for the critics, but be true to themselves. If someone does not like your work now, maybe they just don’t f’ing get it! Maybe they can’t wrap their brains around it, understand it, or appreciate it, the technical difficulties in making it, or how much hard work went into it. Maybe they just don’t like “the different”. F’em! You’ll find your audience, and you’ll always have people who dislike or ignore your hard work. It’s part of the biz of being a photographer. There will, however, be others who love your work. The universe is in balance, it all should even out – don’t worry! ;^ )

 

Some see things the way they are and ask, “Why?” I dream things that never were, and ask “Why not?” -George Bernard Shaw

Another “RIGHT ON!” Mr. Shaw! Why do photographs have to be the exact carbon copy of the way the world exposed itself to you? Who made up that rule? Maybe Photojournalism, Traffic Control cameras and those Horse Race cameras need to show the exact truth to be worthwhile and trustworthy and telling. However, Fine Art and many other genres of Photography do not need to show the exactness of a scene. Where’s the creativity in that? I personally will go with the “Why Not?” question when I take most of my photographs, edit them in Paint Shop, and display them for the world to see.

That’s enough for now.

No need to agree with me; but if you do, then I guess I’m not totally alone.

Have fun and take the best images you can with the equipment you have. Also, carry a camera with you everywhere, with fresh batteries – that’s the best advice I can give anyone!

Lebuh King – 1 Block, Edit B

Lebuh King – 1 Block, Edit B, originally uploaded by fine-grain. *See at the bottom of this entry, for a link to a larger view*

This week I’ll be starting a new project and quite busy for about three weeks: I suspect I won’t be on Flickr much, probably.

That being the case, today I wanted to work on a personal project: A very massive and time consuming project it ended up becoming. I wanted to do a big project for my Penang Architecture Portfolio…”Lebuh King – 1 Block, Edit B, is “The Project” I worked on today.

A side note: I’m not quite sure why the biggest image I could upload was stuck at 1024 wide – the file I uploaded was 3000+ pixels wide. Hummmm. I’ll see if I can reload the photo…(Update: No, the damned thing won’t load up the proper sized image, so What’ the ….)

OK, anyway, this is a FULL Block Photograph, taken along Lebuh King, in Little India, Penang, between Lebuh Gereja and Lebuh China.

I went early in the morning so to avoid some of the Sunday morning shoppers and tourists, etc. Nevertheless, as I started, there was one obstacle after another getting in my way…cars parked where I needed to be, people, shop carts, it was madness!

To say this is a huge task to take a panorama like this is an understatement. It’s easy to take a panorama with all sorts of distortion and uncorrected perspective, but to change the perspective on each shot and then attempt to make it line up, in a straight line afterward, is kind of a royal pain, but educational.

This image is a series of 16 shots.

Each image was Perspective Corrected (to the best fit for the adjoining of all images).

Each image was hand placed and aligned. Minor aberrations were removed and corrected. That said, this image is not exactly “factual” – it can’t be under the circumstances. Some architectural details needed to be removed just to adjoin the separate images.

Shooting time was about 30 minutes. Image processing and editing work was 16-hours.

The original image is nearly 26,000 pixels wide. I had to up my virtual memory to 6GB so that the software wouldn’t crash – could sure use a duel or quad core machine.

I discovered that probably the best way to do this type of shot is using a rail-system, like camera crews use in the making of movies. I would need to partition off a section of road (probably need Polis Permission to do that, LOLOL), set up a rail system, place my tripod and camera on there and roll it along down the road as I take pictures.

I used my tripod, but with all the bumps in the road, and the double parked cars in the way and other obstructions, I was never assured that my camera was in the same alignment each time the shutter was released – VERY PROBLEMATIC! Each time the angle changes even a little bit, the perspective is totally jacked-up! The frustrations of keeping everything lined up had to come later when working on the computer.

If I had had the time and the forethought, I would have taken with me a 100-foot measuring tape, lay out a very straight line, marked with spray paint, so I know where my tripod feet need to be placed, etc. However, I’m wondering if that constitutes “destruction or defacing of public property” by marking the road, hehehehehe. Oh well, may be worthwhile finding out, ; ^ )

That would solve the straight line problem, but then you have the other angles to keep lined up (the ups & downs and the level of the camera). Potholes are still a problem in this regard.

Because of the close working distance, in some sections of the road, not all the building parts were captured, so that is why some of the buildings are sliced. Other portions were just so badly out of perspective, that the only option was to chop them off at the offending level.

Using the “Stitching” software was tried first, but I was not happy with the way it creates unusual shaped merged images (sideway S-images), so that each image fits the puzzle (so to speak). Plus, the perspective is still messed up when using the “Stitch” software.

Anyway, I never tried shooting the entire length of a city block, so this is the resulting project for Lebuh King, from Lebuh Gereja to Lebuh China. A wonderful mix of historic architecture in one shot!

I just wish that you could see the 3000 pixel-wide sized image I had planned to upload to my gallery – Oh Well…This will have to do, but it’s not the same effect as the “Big-Ass” Shot!

Uploaded by fine-grain on 22 Oct 07, 1.52AM MYT.

PS: I hope this works – I’m uploading the larger 3000+ wide pixel image so you can get a better look at the details in this work. Wish me luck… Update: Nope, can’t seem to get an image that is “wide” to show up properly here or at Flickr. What the Hell! What! Panoramic Images are not taken into consideration for images sent to Flickr and WordPress. A little grumpy now…What’s wrong with scrolling a little sideways to see the full, big image on the screen, it’s not that big of a pain-in-the-ass to do that – Most people probably wouldn’t mind sliding the scroll bar sideways to see the larger image.

Well, sorry folks, but we are stuck with seeing the 1024-pixel-wide image. Oh Well, that’s life!

Lebuh King Historic Preservation Image, from Lebuh Gereja to Lebuh China, in Little India, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.  Photography by Nawfal Nur, All Rights Reserved - The image is meant for “viewing” only!  No copying or saving, please!

Can You Feel It?, Edit C

The camera is superior to the eye, and the photograph can, and ideally should, portray the world more graphic than reality itself.” Andreas Feininger (1906 – 1999)

 Can You Feel It?, Edit C, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

“Can You Feel It” is obviously about texture. The original is quite colorful and nice, but I wanted you to “feel” the photograph by creating this version, in this way. The rough textured wall, the smooth metal on the grille, the sharp barbed wire on the water pipe, the battered, gravel, asphalt road in front of the door. So…”can you feel it?”

Ball-Splash-IMG_1922

Ball-Splash-IMG_1922, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little, human detail can become a Leitmotiv (recurring phrase or theme in a work of art).” Henri Cartier-Bresson

This shot combines Physics (waves, collisions), Art (form, color, design), and Photography (High-Speed, Stop Action, Macro). This is a prime example of Action & Reaction, Cause & Effect. The Waves in this image are, I suspect, the “recurring phrase” that holds the water droplet image together, and links it to my other water droplet images.

NWD

NWD, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

Layers of Abstraction to make a single image: It is not really layers at all. A riddle or reality?

Door & Window near old Ibu HQ Polis, Penang, v1

Door & Window near old Ibu HQ Polis, Penang, v1, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

Door & Window near old Ibu HQ Polis, Penang, v1

Colorful door and window of an abandoned house near the old, main Balai Polis, Penang.

This was a nighttime shot.

I’m not sure why, but WordPress and Flickr still don’t play very nice together. I much prefer my WordPress photography journals and the format here. However, Blogger is much more compatible with Flickr. Sending my images to Blogger is flawless. Whenever I blog my Flickr images, I always get this text above the image:

.flickr-photo { border: solid 2px #000000; }
.flickr-yourcomment { }
.flickr-frame { text-align: left; padding: 3px; }
.flickr-caption { font-size: 0.8em; margin-top: 0px; }

I know, it’s not that big a deal; nevertheless, it’s kind of irritating! This text does not show up in my Blogger journal.

Oh well, because I like WordPress much more than Blogger, I’ll just have to put up with this little inconvenience until WordPress and Flickr play nicer together.