I’m always fascinated with the concept of selling ice cream from a motorcycle. They are two things that intrigue me: ice cream and motorcycle. I observed the business has progressed with electric ice box now. I remembered the good old days when they use dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) to contain the popcicles. It’s not easy finding a mobile ice cream seller nowadays in Singapore. If you do crave the experience, I still see them hanging out at Bugis Junction and Scott’s Road.
Today’s blog is somewhat a continuation from my last. My Pastor often reiterates, that it’s about the journey more than the destination. If life is indeed a journey, let’s purpose in our hearts to enjoy the ride.
(The above photo is part of my recent Bintan trip compilation. You can download my Bintan photo e-zine in PDF format here. Hope you’ll enjoy the read)
We just turned 49. Happy birthday Singapore! This photo’s overwhelming theme of red with silver-white metallic stripes isn’t any coincidental choice (for my overseas friends, please google our national flag). A slow shutter speed captured my students making a dash up these stairs. Don’t you agree it reflects the pace of life in sunny Singapore? Can we slow down?
This photo was taken at the National Museum of Singapore in June. The composition rule here is called framing – I made use of the big square-shaped entrance as a frame to lead the view into the three standing subjects. The limelight of this image belongs to the three girls despite their small stature. The frame, though considered secondary here, made this happened. “It’s ok,” said the frame, “as long as we get the big picture.”
Wherever we are now – whether we want to admit it or not – is very much due to the supporting casts in our lives. I’m most grateful for them, remembering their sacrifices and love. I get emotional thinking about the casts who had dared to share or even give the limelight to me throughout the course of my life. I’m truly thankful for the frames around me because they define me, make me look good, and help me see the big picture. Prolific writer, G K Chesterton once wrote: “Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.” There lies the biggest lesson for me. That I must be frames for others as well. To impact as much as to be impacted. To play a part in making other pictures look good. After all, life should not be displayed with only a few pictures, it should be a huge and beautiful gallery. Frame well. 🙂
Tioman. What a beautiful island. Two hours ferry ride off the east coast of West Malaysia from the state of Pahang. Together with 4 other lecturers, we brought 55 year one students there on a study cum bonding trip early this week. The scenes were breathtaking. Hourglass-quality sea sand, coconut trees taller than arms of extended construction cranes and the calming but thunderous sounds of rampaging waves ingrained my senses long after I left the island. Four days passed quickly, typical of any good times in any good place. But as good as it was, to me, the feeling of going home matched, if not surpassed, all of the above goodness. The familiar warmth of my family and my love for Singapore overwhelmed any sadness I would have in leaving the beautiful island of Tioman. Love. It’s hard to beat that. Even paradise was a mismatch. The above photo was my favourite shot from the trip – a surfer returned after a fun day riding the waves. It was a perfect reflection of my sentiments. Bless. 🙂
I had the privilege to bring 10 students this week on a study trip to Jakarta to be involved in a social campaign with UNICEF Indonesia. We visited Jembatan Besi, a slum west of Jakarta. The lessons we carried out of that place are things that can’t be taught in any classroom. I learned about contentment that day, and these four children above were my teachers.
Ever since I’ve gotten back to photography, the black and white fever has hit me pretty hard. I had an uncanny reputation before to be overly attracted to bright and colourful subjects, which are common attributes in my “Ordinary Colours” series. But the black and white genre is just something else… the richness of monochromatic tones and the absence of colour distraction are solid reasons why this genre is still so loved by photographers even in this colourful digital age. Producing black and white images today brings me back to why I fell in love with photography in the first place – one name, Ansel Adams. The grandmaster of landscapes in monochrome, his prints had mesmorised countless throughout a great part of the 20th century.
To be good in black and white photography, half the story befalls on the ability to see beyond the colours which our eyes pick up and understand the intensity of lights falling on a subject, which produces the richness in tones. The other half comes in during the processing stage, after the image is taken. Ansel Adams developed the zone system in the dark room. Although that is pretty much replaced by Photoshop nowadays, the principles of the grandmaster’s system have since become a bible to producing monochrome prints.
Black and white photos are strong reminders to me of the classics, periods when things were much simpler. There were absolute virtues during those times. Let’s be careful to ensure that we pass these virtues on. “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” Proverbs 22:28. 🙂