Categories
Photography

Beauty in the Mundane

Everyday Bali

I contribute and support a few online photography forums. I enjoy seeing other people’s photos. I learn new things, see new perspectives, and get inspired. I definitely value people’s constructive feedback.

Recently, I started to comment on a photo in a street photography group when I read some feedback that disturbed me. Here’s an excerpt from the comment that bothered me.

Unfortunately, for me, your image doesn’t really succeed . . . The man isn’t doing anything interesting.

Here’s an excerpt from what I posted about the same photo that was being critiqued.

Hmmmm, a couple master street photographers immediately came to mind when I saw your post.

Quite a disparity, yes? Almost opposite ends of the spectrum. If anyone says that your photos capture people that aren’t doing anything “interesting”, you are in good company. You are in company with master photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson (HCB), Saul Leiter, and William Eggleston.

If you love the mundane and banal, please share your links with the rest of us. Want even more mundane photography? There’s a whole genre dedicated to unremarkable (or remarkable depending on your perspective) landcapes–New Topographics photography.

Here’s my nod to New Topographics in Bali which I exhibited in Ubud a couple years back–Balinality.

Photos of Balinese Ceremonies with a Twist - Bali Street Photographer - 35mm film Waiting for a lift outside an ornate entrance to a Balinese wedding.

Feature photo: Balinality or just another day in the life at Pasar Ubud, Bali?

Thanks for reading.

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Categories
Culture Photography

Offbeat Images of Balinese Ceremonies

As a street photographer, I connect with our gift to present life from a different perspective. There is no right or wrong when it comes to how we view life–just diffrent points of views.

So-called exotic cultures are often potrayed the same way in social media and travel magazines. I hope this new collection of images expands how you would normally view a place like Bali.

Photos of Balinese Ceremonies with a Twist - Bali Street Photographer
Behind the scenes on the night before Nyepi.
Photos of Balinese Ceremonies with a Twist - Bali Street Photographer
Gamelan players.

See the new gallery here.

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Categories
Photography Sightseeing

Ubud Palace – When Smoke Gets in your Eyes

Beauty in the Mundane

During all the years I’ve lived in Ubud, I’ve never seen the Ubud Palace being completely smoked-out. In this case, fogged-out. Even though fogging for mosquitoes is a common thing in Bali, this scene at the main gate to the palace is not something you see every day. Here, we have a poetic confluence of the mundane, tourist hot spot, and luck to produce something rather artistic.

This photograph and consequent post is inspired by Indonesian-based photographer Chitra Ananda.

Read more on making your photography stand-out by being different.

See more artistic street photography on our dedicated gallery here.

#balinality

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Categories
Photography

Looking for Saul in Pasar Ubud

This feature photo is a nod to the master photographer, Saul Leiter.

Read how to find your unique street photography style.

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Categories
Editorial Photography

Street Photography – How to be Different from the Rest

How do we really know what ultimately influences us to compose a picture before clicking the shutter?

Being Different or Like Other Street Photographers - Bali Street Photographer
Looking for Saul in Ubud Bali–A double-take composition influenced by master photographer Saul Leiter.

Should I be like all the other street photographers, or should I be different? How can I be different–is this even possible?

If you’ve been into street photography for even a short time, these two questions should have crossed your mind by now. We humans are influenced by many conscious and not so conscious factors. How do we really know what ultimately influences us to compose a picture before clicking the shutter? Is it our individuality or because we’ve seen it done by someone else?

Here are four heuristics I practice to be a more unique photographer.

  1. The double-take test:  If I’m going to photograph in a well known place, I look to see what photos are already out there. I take notice of what images make me look twice. Then I try compositions I hope will make people do a double-take. E.g., it can be looking at the scene upside down to discover a unique perspective, pointing my camera in the opposite direction of everyone else, or finding a spot off the beaten path that hasn’t been snapped yet.
  2. Research the masters: Looking at the masters is always inspiring to me. But, their work gives me more than mere inspiration. Take Saul Leiter for example. His photographs allow me to put myself in his shoes. When I do that, I can ponder, “What made Saul so special? What made him stand out? What was Saul thinking when he decided to stand where he did when he pressed the button? Why did he approach who he did when he captured a portrait?” Perhaps we may never know the answer and leave it at that. Or, we can see if the answers are out there in books, interviews, and documentaries. The bottom line is that we can let the masters impassion us to be unique.
  3. Inside job: Some times it’s who you know. A good number of my favourite photographs (the ones that break the mold) are pictures of people I know. I’ve photographed priceless moments of my wife in Surabaya, my barber in Ubud, my tuk-tuk driver in Chiang Mai, my waitress in Bhutan, my scuba instructor in the Maldives, and my media colleague in the Philippines. These acquaintances, former strangers, and friends give me an inside angle that can literally serve as a backstage pass for street portraits. Use it, but don’t abuse it. Your relationships are privileges not potential exploits.
  4. Be yourself: Being yourself requires meditation time away from the camera. Spend time reflecting and searching for your true self. One way to do this is to detach from your ego. Start practising street photography for the joy not the ego-based competition. Be mindful or your surroundings and empathetic to people. Once you start shedding your ego and become more mindful, your individuality and creativity blossoms. When this happens, your uniqueness and personal perspective will be reflected in the art you create not the pictures you “take” or “shoot”.

Portrait of Iman - Bali Street Photographer Ubud Bali
Portrait of Iman Inspired by The Morrison Hotel album cover by Henry Diltz – photographing who you know is a back stage pass to hidden gems.

Sunset Portrait at Sanur Beach Bali - Bali Street Photographer
Sunset Portrait at Sanur Beach Bali – while everyone was tripping over themselves to photograph the sunset, I pointed my camera the other way to catch the fading light on this man’s face. On Ilford HP5 Plus 400 35 mm film.

Yearning for more inspiration? Visit our Artistic Street Photography gallery here.

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