Monday, October 18, 2010

Dare to Dream!

Photo by Timothy Cheng, Bagan Lalang, Sept 2010.

Fujichrome Velvia 50. Nikon F80 with 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Early on in the preparation for the competition, Nasha said (on 22 Sept),

"Why don't we do something on how nature used to be our playground when we were young, but nowadays kids have artificial playgrounds and man made entertainment. I remember nature being a very strong memory of my childhood... [The competition] emphasizes quite a bit on green tech and eco products, so maybe we can find a way to work that in as well."

After a relatively failed attempt in Brickfields, we finally nailed it in Bagan Lalang, though I don't think we quite managed to connect any of it to 'green tech' and 'eco products'. Truth be told, I don't think much of those labels anyway. These children are playing in the natural environment; 'toys' don't get any greener than this!

While we were hiking up Sungai Chiling, Tim remarked, "What the mind does not know, the eye does not see," in describing the difference between someone who looks out for insects and other animals along the path that may appear hidden or invisible to someone who does not know they even exist.

I suppose that's what journalism is all about: picking out details in the messy fabric of our lives and the lives of those around us, and weaving those details into a persuasive narrative. All in all it was a great experience, and the whole process of putting everything together reminded me of T.S. Eliot's words in 'Little Gidding';

... And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)

The team with judges Nelson Lin of the China Press, Janet Tee of the National Textile Museum and chief judge Raja Fuziah of the World Crafts Council Asia Pacific. We did not meet judges Wairah Marzuki of the National Art Gallery and Kenneth Lee of Philips Malaysia.

Our film portfolio totally smoked not only the competition from without, but also the competition from within, i.e. our other entries.

It was worth renting the fisheye at RM200+ for the week on the Big Island. It was worth buying both the N80 (RM165) and the F80 (RM330), as well as the 18-35mm (RM1150) and last year's 70-210mm (RM600). The total cost of all this gear would just about get you a D90 today, without any lenses.

As we joked, perhaps the D40+D50 was a better combination than the D90. *wink*

But Tim is right about one thing: film really makes you a lot more careful when shooting, and so you only shoot the winners. With this portfolio, we really did. We made a point about the relevance and enduring power of film in this digital age.

I guess Ken Rockwell is right: it is better to get everything right in the shot, than to dick around with stuff like HDR and other forms of post-processing.

* * *

And so we made a point, got our pictures and message out there for the public to see and hear. And we fattened our bank accounts along the way, heh.

A great campaign and, especially for Tim, a holiday well-spent I'd say.

Many thanks to Dr Zeeda for supporting us, and Dr Aziz for letting me know about the competition.

To Tim, Nasha, Yen, Fit and Ruth, congrats to all again!

1 comment:

Mel said...

Thanks for that great little thought on journalism Ben :) These days upon reflection, that has been my line of thought about journalism as well :) Hope to see you around soon!