Monday, February 6, 2012

Inside and outside the bubble

Smoking in solitude

I love the photos of lanterns and balloons in your last post. I’m reminded of this photo that I took in early 2010, during our first time to visit and photograph the Chinese New Year celebrations in Binondo. In retrospect, I consider this as my first time to do “street photography” -- even though I had never heard of street photography, let alone contemplated what it is or isn’t, or was told of its so-called rules. I was just going on instinct, capturing what looked visually interesting to me, and shooting with an almost childlike curiosity, without any preconceived notions. I really was quite naive about what I was doing. I only knew that I liked taking photographs.

This was the period of time when I was learning the manual settings of our new Canon G11 compact camera. The G11’s features allowed me to experiment with photography and go beyond mere snapshots -- to actually think a bit more about how I was taking pictures. Of course, I had taken snapshots for many years using other cameras, mostly automatic film cameras, and had the chance to use a darkroom a few times in high school. Although I valued my photos as souvenirs of places I had been to and people I had met, I didn’t take my photography seriously, especially as I found it too expensive a hobby to ever maintain. I had taken some good photos off and on during those years, but they were just that -- personal momentos that I would rarely share with other people.

As I told someone recently, for most of my life, photography was something so far away from my consciousness, that it still surprises me that I’m actually now taking pictures and being considered (by some folks) as a “photographer”. Over the last 2 years, I’ve come to realize that the moments when I take pictures, when I create images, have become very real and important to me -- much more so than the other aspects of the photography world, which I slowly (and at times, reluctantly) get to know.

I’ve come to appreciate that it is both a privilege and a responsibility to be a photographer, to tell stories, and bear witness to life as it unfolds, even small moments such as in this image. Although most of the time, the only reward I get is the enjoyment of creating images, I hope to continue growing as a photographer and perhaps even make others think and feel a little with the images that I make.



  1. hala ka naman! Napakamalikhain, parang ganito kapag nananaginip ang isang tao. Saka kapag sa pelikula o teleserye kapag nagbabalik-tanaw. parang ganito yung effect.