Sunday, January 5, 2014

Notes from 1993-1996

When I just started to learn photography, I have a notebook where I wrote notes about the picture I took. I specifically design the cover to make it looks like a real photo book. As you can see, I put my portrait in suit to give more "professional" feel. That portrait was taken on my graduation day from junior high school.

It was an analog era. I spent around two weeks or a month to fill all 36 frames of a roll. Sometimes when I eagerly want to see the result, I take the camera to the shop and ask the operator to cut the exposed film and give me back the unexposed with the canister to be used for my next photo shots. All photography shop already have automatic machine to run C-41 process in high volume. Usually I sat patiently in the shop and have my negative ready within 30-60 minutes. After reviewing the negative, I make selection which frame to print and coming back the day after to see the result. Sometimes I feel surprised, both positively or negatively, with the photo I got. After the emotion calm down, I put some of those photos on the notebook and start make comments on it.

Looking back to this book today, glancing through the pages, the handwritten notes ... it raises a bizarre feeling. This is me 20 years ago. A kid who learn photography. The question is, today, am I better than this kid? Let's have a look ...

Still Life

Still life is my favorite shots at that time. It looks like I want to study more about lighting and it would be much easier if I do that in a controlled environment, much like a studio. I remember I use anything found in the house as light modifier, a styrofoam as reflector, silver/gold paper to alter the reflected light, etc.

To my eye today, I quite like those photos. It is not a professional grade of course. It seems I'm very determined to do a commercial/advertisement photography that time. On the contrary, I never take still life shots these days.


Panning is one of photography techniques that I want to master that time.

As you can see, I already made a good progress.

Urban Places

I even shot B/W !!



This is what I shot these days.
I don't like the first two photos. No composition at all. It was my first night shot.
I rather amazed with the B/W. Not the picture, but the photo paper. It was printed on January 1995, 19 years ago. They still have that contrasty color. The gray shade looks so pleasant. That's why people of previous generation so loves their black and white photos.
Compare to today, I think my current Urban Juxtaposition project is the continuation of these early works.

Special Effects

This is my beloved sister, Lusiana Diorita. I put her on the bench in front of black carton for this experiment.
Double Exposure is a simple thing with the right equipment. Unfortunately, Yashica 108 is not. I have to hold the unlock button at the bottom of the camera body and press the shutter at the same time. Sometimes it works, other times it won't. So, I don't have much works around this technique. Today, double exposure is completely irrelevant. You could easily layer those images in Photoshop.

I remember doing this in my bedroom at night. Water floods on the floor on every shots. What a mess! It's quite fun anyway and I'm happy with the result.
If I have to do it again today, I will built a special purpose microcontroller device with infrared motion sensor and electronics circuitry to trigger the camera. That's what I do as Embedded System engineer.


Photographing model is not my major interest. But at least, I had my attempt once to fill my portfolio. This is my friend, Coki.

The above photo is the one I like from this photo session. Until now, I still don't "get it" about model/fashion photography. But I do like portraits, especially those works by Steve McCurry.

Closing Thoughts

I have to be honest that I'm proud to be that kid. I think I still have the exploratory spirit and determination that moves him around. About the question, am I now better than him? I could only answer, not much.

I can see the interest shift in photography field between then and now. In that time, I was still in senior high school, even I haven't go to university yet. It clearly seen I want to be a professional photographer, majoring in commercial photography. That's why still life dominates my early works.

It turns out now I have a profession in another field. Photography is purely a hobby which doesn't dictate me what field/genre that will raise the most revenue. I'll keep it that way, that's the luxury I have with my photography.

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