Commuters. Singapore, Jan 2015.

States of being

Charlene general, vagabonding 9 Comments

I didn’t shoot a single still frame the whole of December. Largely due to making the XF 16-55mm F2.8 promo movie, but that was a more productive photographic dry period than usual.

I don’t invoke these dry periods deliberately; they happen when my brain has had enough of one kind of input – in this case, photographic – and they last for various lengths of time. Much has been written about the perpetual flood of images on the internet. For me, this is enriching because of the many lines of inquiry it offers, but taking a rest from thinking about images all the time is equally restorative to the general self, creative or otherwise. In these times, I read, I write, I consider (read: drool over) graphic and industrial design, I agitate over my experience of the world through its products, interfaces, social structures, individual relationships and environment.

All of this feeds back into my understanding of how/why images are made, consumed and shared, and how I do all these things in kind.

“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” – Ansel Adams

When I am ready to shoot again though, my staple is always the streets, usually at night, and on foot, or from public transportation of some kind. I’ve spent most of my life regularly riding buses and trains, and learnt early that transit journeys are daily opportunities to reflect, or mull idly over the things at the back of my mind, while my body rests.

The image above was one of the last I made in Singapore, during one of the last bus rides home. The morphing of personas echoes another change of state in my life. Like the picture, the change was unexpected. But I’ll still have my daily transits on buses and trains, and find in their reflections, the artifacts of my unconscious mind.

Image details: 1/105 sec, f1.4, ISO 1250. Fuji X-E2, 35mm f1.4

Comments 9

  1. Firstly, this picture is outstanding. I love it so much. I was sitting next to you and have no idea how you see this. Secondly, your essays rings very true. Thirdly, I envy the reflection the bus gives you, for me, bus rides are mostly a mix of gnavness and motion sickness 🙂

    1. Post
      Author

      You know me, it’s the quiet, ordinary things that take my attention. Yeah I enjoy motion… it’s soothing to a messy mind.

  2. Great use of reflections Charlene. Both image wise and contextual. Dry spells are a blessing. I like to embrace them, just as you seem to do. Vi ses! Jonas.

  3. If I don’t shoot a frame for a week, I think there’s something wrong. A whole month, I’d probably have a heart attack! 🙂 But, no, that’s good. It’s not like you were sitting idly by. And I like how you “refill” the cup by reading/viewing/doing other things. Today I’m posting a short slideshow of my 2014 Visual Year In Review. I’m a horrible editor, but I tried to keep it tight. But going back through the images, it shows me how much photography helps me take the world in. And the people I meet. All good!

    1. Post
      Author

      Hehe, we all work in different and mysterious ways. I shall have a look at your year in review presently. I like what you’ve built it on 🙂

    2. Mark, it confounds me how you do what you do: job, household, parents, wife, 3 kids, AND you still produce an amazing amount of good work. Maybe your system is working! I’ve got similar commitments (tho one less kid) and I can’t keep up!! My year in review would look like a schizophrenic squirrel on speed took a crack at it. Maybe I need a month off, though I would probably spend it catching up on sleep….

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