Digital photography and four days more

I have been trying (note this operative word since I hardly had the time to) to practise with a Canon 5d Mark II because I never felt comfortable with DSLRs. There are too many configurations, too many options. They are too bulky.

When I made photographs in the past, it was always with a manual SLR, either a Canon AE-1 or Nikon FE2:

Admittedly, I do not have the passion of a photographer. I see myself first a writer, then a photojournalist. I shoot photographs to illustrate my stories. I shoot photographs to compose an alternative photo essay that runs alongside my stories. Photography is a tool I use to tell stories, a necessary evil.

I do not like shooting pictures for fun or for art. I winced when I had to shoot bloody water lilies in Botanic Gardens at 6 am, because my photography teacher in secondary school said it was good practice, and I still do. So I dragged myself to Botanic Gardens a few weeks ago to shoot bloody water lilies.

The camera, I feel, is an obtrusion. And certainly, more than a few photojournalists have said that it acts as a shield, a shield that protects them from the brutality of whatever they are photographing.

And I am not comfortable with that. In order for me to write well, I need to be completely absorbed in my subject, lost in the moment, breathing in the emotions so deep in till my mind suspends reality. Likewise, to make acceptable photographs, I need to achieve that level of focus so that I forget about the nerves that inescapably comes with photography.

In contrast, reporting for writing feels like an¬†anaesthetist’s hypodermic needle. You slip in and you slip out, unnoticed.

You angst in private only when you begin to write.