• Please use real names.

    Greetings to all who have registered to OPF and those guests taking a look around. Please use real names. Registrations with fictitious names will not be processed. REAL NAMES ONLY will be processed

    Firstname Lastname

    Register

    We are a courteous and supportive community. No need to hide behind an alia. If you have a genuine need for privacy/secrecy then let me know!
  • Welcome to the new site. Here's a thread about the update where you can post your feedback, ask questions or spot those nasty bugs!

My World: Beautiful Trash

Zeeshan Ali

New member
I recently came back from a 3 week trip to Cambodia where I was part of the annual Angkor Photography Workshops. There were in all 38 participants all over from Asia. I was put in the environment group which was headed by the Head of Photography for Greenpeace. We had to complete the project in six days and the project had to reflect some of kind of an environmental issue. For the first 2 days I was perplexed and wasnt sure what to work on but after discussions with the tutors we decided that I would work on photographing close ups of trash. I am usually more keen to photograph still life in general and photographing people is the least of my priorities. Further more I like abstract compositions and the subject of making trash look beautiful seemed to work well in terms of my photographic style. In the end the project became more of an environmental as well as a social commentary on the changing identity of Siem Reap, Cambodia. Each photograph in the series hints at the affect of tourism in the city but very discreetly. I used only one lens throughout the project, the 60mm micro Nikkor. The photographs are in order. Your feedback will be appreciated.

Beautiful Trash









 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I recently came back from a 3 week trip to Cambodia where I was part of the annual Angkor Photography Workshops. There were in all 38 participants all over from Asia. I was put in the environment group which was headed by the Head of Photography for Greenpeace. We had to complete the project in six days and the project had to reflect some of kind of an environmental issue.

Fabulous project, Zeeshan. You are amazing to have found the time and commitment to actually organize yourself and give up a lot to go there!


Each photograph in the series hints at the affect of tourism in the city but very discreetly. I used only one lens throughout the project, the 60mm micro Nikkor. The photographs are in order. Your feedback will be appreciated.




Zeeshan Ali: Beautiful Trash #1


This is poignant, Zeeshan! Patina of garbage and imprint of a human life and you're involvement with the turnover of life in a city! It shows how connected you are to this project. I like the theme and how this is rolling out. \

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Zeeshan,

So many tourists flock to Angkor each year! This Angkor Photography Workshop must have been so different from the usual "mega-snapping frenzy" experience. You've have seen the monuments and city in a whole new light, from the perspective of environmentalists. Doubtless, you've all been influenced by the knowledge and enthusiasm of all the passionate Greenpeace community, not to mention the artist teachers.

So what lessons for yourself and for the rest of us did you bring home?

Asher
 

Zeeshan Ali

New member
Zeeshan,

So many tourists flock to Angkor each year! This Angkor Photography Workshop must have been so different from the usual "mega-snapping frenzy" experience. You've have seen the monuments and city in a whole new light, from the perspective of environmentalists. Doubtless, you've all been influenced by the knowledge and enthusiasm of all the passionate Greenpeace community, not to mention the artist teachers.

So what lessons for yourself and for the rest of us did you bring home?

Asher
Thanks Asher for the feedback. Yes the Angkor Photography Workshops are serious business. The organization that carries out the workshops also has an annual photography festival that runs for a week simultaneously with the workshop. On the last day of the festival, they showcased all 38 participants' work and it was quite an experience to see one's own work on a big screen in front of 500 people. We had some amazing people to learn from such as Antoine D'Agata (Magnum) and Jean-Francois Leroy (Director, Perpignan Photography Festival).

I think I learned immensely and the whole experience of photographing a new city with a specific vision was quite different than random shooting while traveling. I got critiques on my past work from three different photographers and though I didnt agree to all the feedback I think most of what they said made sense and could be useful for other photographers as well. The festival's focus is mainly towards documentary/photo journalistic style of photography and I was the only one amongst the 38 people who worked solely with still life. So the critiques I got on my work were also from photo journalists. I only wished there was someone who had extensive experience working with still life who could advise me how to approach different projects that are of particular interest to me. But in any case some of the lessons I learned are as follows:

1) Focus on a single idea and commit to making pictures that have an identifiable style. I was advised to look at Raphael Dellaporta's work on landmines "Antipersonnel" http://www.raphaeldallaporta.com/project. The execution of the project is quite simple but its the research and acquiring so many different landmines from various countries that makes the project interesting to look at. There is also an antiwar sentiment in the project which gives it a meaning "beyond the obvious".

2) Leave my comfort zone. It was the first time I actually photographed macros and that too on the streets shooting trash. I could literally taste and smell the decaying food products and see all kinds of insects crawling around. This also opened up a whole new understanding of getting real close to your subjects.

3) Think in terms of feelings/stories that my photographs are to portray. During the portfolio review sessions, I received critiques that my photographs are more aesthetic in nature and follow geometric patterns more than conveying a story. During my photography diploma and working on the final thesis, I was paying more attention to the form in a photograph and therefore the lines and colors became primary subjects. However going beyond the obvious as I stated earlier is what is required to excel at making a serious career in photography.

4) Think big. I was advised to rethink my technique since my photographs dont follow journalistic/documentary style of photography. I was advised to think in terms of using a different camera, maybe a large format, and making silver gelatin prints to make my photographs special and collectable. A gallery representation was suggested to me to make my work more approachable to general audience and hence the silver gelatin prints.

5) Accept criticism but dont always fall for it. During the portfolio review sessions, one of the advisers was really rude with me. He dismissed my entire thesis work saying it doesnt convey any comprehensive thought process and that I have taken snap shots of random things. He declared that even I didnt feel anything myself for the photographs deep down inside which was pretty shocking because if anything my thesis project is the closest I have come to defining myself through photography. He was young, just about my age, and had been awarded a Magnum Expression Award a few years back on one of his projects. I bit the bullet and remained calm but that whole day I was asking myself why I went to him for critique. But the lesson I learned was to accept that each individual can have different reaction to my photographs but more importantly I learned to be humble when I am critiquing others on their work especially with people I dont know nothing about.

Hope it was useful sharing my experiences.
 
Top