The Stories Behind My Photographs - Episode 2
Sometimes the context behind your photos matters...
Table of Contents
I've been reviewing and curating my own photographs, thinking about my process, the gear that I use and the gear that I suggest other people use as well as my photography philosophy.
I previously made a video called "The Stories Behind My Photographs" and although nobody watched it, I do think it's important to talk about these things.
Gear is not everything, and most of our time as photographers is spent capturing moments in time after all, so those moments can be precious and worthwhile talking about as well. If you haven't watched the first episode, you can watch it right here:
So, I decided to turn this into "The Stories Behind My Photographs Series", hopefully, you can find some value or entertainment in these as well.
First Image - X100T & Classic Chrome
This photograph is marked in my brain, forever. This was my first day exploring Japan. I woke up early in the morning and got ready to explore, headed for Shinjuku, and just sat at this spot in front of Yodobashi camera.
And I just sat there for like an hour, just enjoying the moment, taking it all in, observing people and hearing new sounds, it was great. And then this gentleman just sat in from of me. I didn't have to do anything, I wasn't searching for photographs, or hunting for the perfect spot, anything like that.
In fact, it didn't even occur to me to take the photo for like 10 minutes. I finally snapped out of it and said to myself: this is probably something I want to capture, and took the damn photo.
But like I mentioned in Episode 1, it's incredible how we can see images and immediately go back to the experiences and relive those moments, it puts a smile on my face.
Second Image - X100F & ACROS
This is another photograph that I remember very well, I don't take photographs of animals often, but this one is important.
The previous day I received a call from my parents, letting me know that our family dog passed away. For us pets are another family member, so for me it sucked, especially not being there at the moment, and not being able to sort of say goodbye.
So the day after I find myself standing here, just waiting for the green light to cross the street and I see this little dog, just staring, being very still. If you've ever tried to take photos of pets or toddlers then you know how difficult it is to get them to stay still.
I had enough time to change my camera settings, set the Acros simulation and just shoot it in black and white. It was a good moment, not filled with sadness and sorrow, I just was grateful that the dog was sitting still, and that I was able to capture a moment like that.
Third Image - X100F & Classic Chrome
This photograph captures an idea, this is what I think about when I smell ramen. The beauty of countries like Japan is the immense variety and options when it comes to food, restaurants, bars, tech, etc. And finding great local shops and restaurants is part of my exploration process.
There are hundreds of local ramen shops, noodle shops and little bars as well. And it always feels cozy and personal and not corporate at all. So I love the feeling that this photograph has, the small alleys, the colours and contrast, and the smell of ramen. Character vs environment.
Fourth Image - X100F & Classic Chrome
This photograph captures a traditional ceremony taking place in a shrine. Although it's not uncommon to see events and ceremonies happening, these don't happen every day. So witnessing something new, and catching the light just at the right moment of the day can be a small victory worth celebrating.
I don't need to edit it or redirect people's attention, the subject, the framing and the light make it obvious to understand what is it that you're supposed to be looking at and experiencing this can make your day.
Fifth Image - X100V & Classic Negative
This is one of the first couple of images I took after returning to Canada. The contrast between the two countries is stark.
It was the beginning of the pandemic and everything was starting to go into lockdown. Japan is very condensed with a lot of people and has very limited space. So seeing empty places, with so much room, but devoid of people makes it feel very uncanny, a stark contrast, or reverse cultural shock.
This really solidified the notion that I need people in my images, I can't photograph buildings or objects without people, there's nothing wrong with doing that, it's just not my thing.
Character VS environment is what matters to me, that relationship and balance of the equation, So there are very few of my images where you don't see any people in them.
Go Out There & Create Memories
The thing is, that most of my images have a memory attached to them, and to me, that is the most important thing. And even though I like reviewing cameras and talking about gear, in the end, the memories that those cameras help me create are what matters.
So go out there and try to create memories, that's how you get invested in your craft, and that's how you improve.
This is a summary of my YouTube Video, you can watch the whole piece here: