Photography

Photography 101: Water

One of the most beautiful places in the world, in one of the most congested, polluted countries in the world.

Jiuzhaigou!

I’ve wanted to travel here ever since I first heard about the beautiful five colour pool. A mythical bright turquoise oasis in the middle of a mountainous forest.

I usually always shoot landscape, and very rarely feel comfortable shooting portrait unless the subject becomes out of frame by shooting landscape.

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How amazing is the reflection in the water? I chose this angle, because it really elongates the reflection. However, I think if I had the chance, perhaps I would think about framing the picture better, perhaps re-think the focal point of the image, rather than having the bush in the way, see how I could use the reflection on the water to draw the eye’s attention to something else.

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And so the reason for shooting portrait for this shot, was I wanted to be able to capture more of the curve/shape of the mountain and its reflection. It created more of a pattern or symmetry than I was able to capture shooting landscape.

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How do you feel about the media after this? – Unsettling video shows staged photojournalism in the Middle East.

First of all, I acknowledge that this video has been brought to us by an independent news source and therefore it doesn’t speak on behalf of all media.

But I think the very idea that there are staged photographs on a topic as hazardous as the violence in Cairo, it’s extremely saddening. On their part for having to go to these lengths for media exposure, shock-factor, for profit? And us – the end user, the audience.

When I lived in China briefly, I remember (upon reflection) realising that I hadn’t noticed the extreme censorship I had been living in. Living in the pollution-bubble of Wuhan, we were exposed to only a half hour of English-speaking news, on loop, daily. We had neither Facebook, nor Google, nor any other internet sources deemed threatening by the Chinese government. But to be honest, I didn’t notice.

Although here in the West, it is unthinkable for us to live in a country where we are manipulated and shielded from the ‘truth’ – it’s a violation of our rights. After China, I began to wonder whether I would notice censorship at home either.

Now I’m not talking about full blown censorship a la China. For one, I was there on a teaching post surrounded by a couple dozen international teachers and was subsequently quite happy to ignore the outside world. I know it didn’t affect me as I wasn’t looking for anything beyond my comfortable ‘real world’ I’d built in Wuhan for myself.

What I do wonder, is how much of our own opinion about real-world affairs, such as the unrest in Cairo, was my own? And how much was formed purely, and unknowingly, from what I’d seen from the media.

I know that I have a tendency to agree with much of what I read – but I think as I’m getting older I will want to make a point to think more for myself. It does make you think; how do I feel about the media?

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