Personal Project: Photobook on my Japan Trip

I have completed a personal project for this year, which is to publish a photobook about my travel experience in Japan. Technically speaking, this is not a travel book, nor a photography book, it’s a bit of both with some writings from me that share some of my thoughts, feelings and emotions while travelling to the land of the rising sun.

I would like to apologize that this book was written in Chinese instead of English. I’m more comfortable to write in Chinese, as I felt that I can express myself better through this language. Nevertheless, I’ll try to translate some of the writings and share through this blog in the future.

I had made similar books before this which incorporate my very own writings and photographs. I like to write and share about things that I learn, my opinions and so on. I like photography, and I like to travel. Hence, this book was born by merging my interest in these three activities / hobbies.

For those who are interested to check it out, please feel free to click on the link here to download and read on your own leisure. Hope you enjoy this book of mine. Thank you and have a nice day!

 

Across the Ravaged Land by Nick Brandt

Image by Nick Brandt and linked from his website. To view all his works, click on the picture.
Image by Nick Brandt and linked from his website. To view all his works, click on the picture.

Ranger posing with tusks of killed elephant… That’s the image that first caught my eyes when I saw it appearing in the news. So striking, so distinctive, so emotional and so powerful. It had since been on my mind, but sadly I wasn’t able to spare enough time to find out more about this picture and the photographer. Okay, perhaps it was me to blame for forgetting.

Few weeks ago when I was browsing through the pile of books in a local library, I chanced upon this book and instantly my memory was recalled: “Oh, this was the picture that I saw few years ago!” And I still love the picture very much. This time, I grabbed the book immediately and started reading. I don’t want to miss this opportunity again.

Dedicated to the billions of animals, past, present, and future, that have died without reason at the hands of man.

This was quoted at the very beginning of the book. Thereafter were a series of pictures in monochrome, printed on very fine paper which preserved the tone of light and shadow very well. You really have to see it to believe it. It made me appreciate the print, and it made me feel that a picture must really be printed out in order to complete it’s lifecycle. Monochrome enthusiast will surely enjoy the pictures very much.

After reading through this book, there were two things that made me ponder. First is the medium that the photographer chose to complete his project. Upon further research, I found that Nick produced his shots from a Pentax 67 II, yes, it’s a medium format film camera. He took his shots on film and scanned them digitally, followed by the usual darkroom process and tonal adjustment via Photoshop. The reason for him to opt for film instead of digital as a medium was because digital images are “too clinical and perfect”. For his subject matter, perhaps a “clinically clean” image will generate less connection to the story which he would like to tell.

Secondly, posed images. There are quite a number of pictures in this series which were obviously posed (for example, the first picture shown in this post). Loyalist or purist of documentary photography will certainly be unhappy about it as they have always against posed images. To me, I don’t see a problem for posing a picture as long as it conveys the exact message to the story it tells. Well, to be fair, Nick’s work is more of story telling than documentary, and I must say without those posed images, the story may not be complete.

Nick has a couple of other projects which are part of his “On This Earth Trilogy” series, namely “On This Earth”, “A Shadow Falls” and “Across the Ravaged Land”. Another wonderful series from Nick was titled “Inherit the Dust”. Do visit his website to have a look at some of his other works, and do get yourself a copy of his book if you enjoyed them. I would like to thank Nick for bringing us such inspiring pictures, and I’m looking forward to see more works from you in the future. Till then.

It’s all about books

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There are a few places where I like to go but I try not to visit often. The first being a bookstore. Every time I walked into a bookstore, there’s probably something for me to buy. Yes, I love reading, provided I have the time and energy to do so.

I love reading since I was young. Reading is fun and enjoyable. I’m not too much into fiction, though I did read a few in the past. I often read on “how to” books, then some hobby related one, biography of some well known person, travel book, photobook and so on.

I’m just a sucker to books and I’ll always get myself interested to some books or magazines. As my book collection grows, same goes to my bookshelf. Soon I was forced to buy ebook instead as I’m running out of space to keep them physically. Reading digital books, although convenient, it lacks a touch of… Reality… Or perhaps it doesn’t feel that close between you and the content you are reading.

Perhaps it’s the nostalgic feeling that we have grown up with flipping through pages and pages of books. The same goes to photography, if a photo was not printed out… Something seems incomplete about it. Aside from books, there are other things which I have virtually no immunity against. I’ll share more about it next time. Now I just hope that I can start and pick up the pace to read more.

Print Your Pictures, Paint Your Stories

There’s a saying that “pictures look better in print than on screen”. Well, I am kind of agree with the statement. I think the feeling is similar to holding a real newspaper and reading it in hand as compared to reading it through your iPad. There’s a sense of engagement, perhaps achievement as well, when you are able to look at the pictures you have taken being printed out.

Having said that, I don’t do print often. I’ll probably print two to three photobooks max per year (well, maybe it’s considered often to you :P). As for individual picture print out in 3R, 4R, A4, canvas print and etc., I’m really not doing that often at all. It’s not really because I don’t do it, probably I’m yet to get “The Shot” worth to be printed out on a large canvas for display. I hope one day I will be able to do so, and hopefully that day won’t be too far away and too long to wait 🙂

During the old days when shooting on film, there’s no other way to see your final result other than printing out the pictures. Nowadays, even though one shooting on film, the film will get developed and scanned into digital copy instead. Come to think of it, it’s kind of sad. Especially when shooting during an event, once you finished you just upload them to Facebook, people will come and “like” it and give a few comments and that’s it. People has started to forget about the feeling of happiness at the moment of sharing their prints, and receiving a print from others.

Until today, I have printed quite a number of photobooks. There’s one for my pet rabbit, one for my rabbit soft toys collection, one for my Taiwan trip, one for my Canon G12 camera, one for my Canon G1X camera, one photo collections of all the pictures I have taken the old days, and recently added one for my Fujifilm X-E2 and X100S. There are some other print out that I did before this, and all of them are being kept well in their respective photo album. Once in awhile, I will pull out some of them and flip through. It brings back memories, and it really fills and warms your heart.

I’m heading to Hong Kong for a short vacation next month, so probably I’ll do another photobook by December. And with my Instax SP-1 Printer, I have been busy shooting and printing for my friends during parties, dinners and gatherings. I really enjoy looking at their smiling face when they receive the print from me. To them, it’s as if a “miracle”, I guess no one is expecting to receive a print nowadays. I’ll share more about the Instax printer next time. Till then, I hope you do print out your pictures to reward yourself from time to time, and spread to joy and happiness of photography by preserving them on a special print.