As I was sifting through piles of negatives, prints, magazines, and the mess of things that belong in my room, I couldn’t help but reflect on the year that was. I don’t think I’ve ever spent a whole year making mistake after mistake while still staying in my comfort zone. It started out with a poorly planned visit to the United States where I think I may have learned some important life lessons. Surely there was something to pick up after going through emergency surgery in New York City… My dreams of visiting New York had finally come true, but life has a sense of humor and I spent more than half of my alloted time inside an emergency room and then a hotel to recover. I had plans to get my work reviewed, talk to photographers I admire, and visit art galleries! I wanted to pretend I was a great street photographer and roam the streets and take photos to show my friends. I was not able to, and strangely enough I accepted everything that happened as soon as it did.
A couple of prints for a portfolio I was putting together.
I visited family once again. This time in Atlanta and Mississippi. Yes, Atlanta and Mississippi. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like such an outsider in my own family before. I don’t mean for that to sound derogatory or anything, I just felt that I haven’t done my part in keep close ties with them. Also, that leg of the trip was pretty much an eating contest or maybe it was my subconscious self making up somehow for what I had missed in New York.
You get the picture. Even if everything felt monotonous after a while, I’m happy I got to spend time with family. It almost felt as good as home.
Now let’s go back to the pile of photos I was talking about earlier. Hardly any of them were from 2011. I hope I don’t encourage anyone to stop taking photographs. I just think that I may have done this subconsciously and it may have helped me grow as a person. This year, my best friend got married, and it’s quite nice to see how far we’ve come from being humpty dumpty and a choo choo train in pre-school.
This all made me realize how lucky I am to be surrounded by such great friends, friends who come from good families with strong moral character.
Despite all the food I’ve eaten this year, I have managed to lose more weight that I ever had before. If you’re wondering, No, this is not me. The guy in the middle is someone responsible for helping me lose some weight, and thus enjoy life more. I am more confident and finally feel good about myself.
Last October, I was selected to be a participant in Sohrab Hura’s “Work In Progress” workshop at the first ever Delhi Photo Festival. Delhi was home for a week. I shared a lovely bed and breakfast with some outrageous photographers. Slowly by slowly, I’m beginning to see that good photographers have their quirks, and what happens when you put 7 of them in one room? Yeah. I’ve grown quite close to the people I spent time with during the festival and workshop. They have become close friends.
The workshop basically stripped our work down. No edits. Everything on the table, even images that don’t catch us right away. I could go on forever and talk about each of our projects but to summarize things, we each had presented our work in ways we’ve never done before. I got to make a book for the very first time, and it was an uplifting experience. This may have been the biggest lesson I’ve learned this year while pretentiously working on my “Family Ties” series and trying to be a documentary photographer and hoping to have the photographs up in a gallery. I learned that I was being and outsider in my own family. I am after all a son, a brother, a nephew, a grandson, before being a photographer. Noni Singh said I have such a beautiful family, and she enjoyed looking at the ‘album’. A few minutes later, I had to fly out of Delhi and before leaving I made sure to thank Sohrab, who was happy I was confused about my work.
This book never made it past the opening night. Pages were ripped off and stolen. Ankit has 2 of them I think.
Soon after this great learning experience, I flew to Siem Reap for the 7th Angkor Photo Festival. I was there for the workshop and was very thankful I finally made the cut this year. It was nice to see people whom I had met in Delhi in a different part of the world. I think this is my new favorite feeling… bumping in to people in different parts of the this small world. I’m not sure I had a more overwhelming experience than this in a long time, and I’m not too sure where to start. I got to meet some great photographers from different parts of Asia. It was a group of good looking boys and girls with so much energy and character. I have quite a few anecdotes about the whole experience, and maybe they’re better shared over a cold pint. Two weeks of seeing the same faces day in and day out eventually made us family. The workshop on the other hand was a stark contrast to what we had in Delhi, this being more technical and ‘photojournalistic’ in nature. I got to work with two very well respected mentors, and they wasted no time in making me realize my shortcomings and flaws. I respect them so much for being able to point out what I do wrong and that being said, it was another learning experience for me. I will never forget the nights I spent with my new friends.
All in all, 2011 has been a great year for me. I feel that despite all the mistakes I’ve made this year, I’ve come out a better person overall. Your opinions may vary. This is definitely a change from the 2010 year in review, in which I posted photographs to represent each month. I sort of wish I had more images to show you, but this is all I really have to say this year.
So just like any year ender blog entry, this thing is bound to have a resolution section. Luckily, this one is going to be short and sweet.
1) Be thankful, and count my blessings
2) Enjoy family time
3) Stop comparing myself with others
4) Write more
5) Travel more, and step out of my comfort zone
6) Be a nice person
I’m looking forward to what the New Year has to offer, and cannot wait to see what adventures it has in store for me. I do hope to run in to my friends along the way, they’re the ones who make it interesting
What are you looking forward to?
I get asked sometimes about which photo – blogs I follow and why, so I’ve decided to come up with a list. By no means is this list arranged in any order, and it definitely is lacking as I stumble across a new blog each day. This list does not include tumblr blogs, that is a whole entry on its own.
Let’s get things rolling:
(not) Common People - is a fun blog that showcases the work of talented photographers who share their work on the (not) common people flickr page. It features short interviews with some generic yet insightful questions.
The Travel Photographer - is Tewfic El-Sawy’s blog. It features some of his work, and some great travel photographers. Once in a while, you might stumble across gear reviews or important deadlines for contests or workshops. He also conducts some great workshops with other travel photographers. This is a good resource for travel photography, story-telling, and multimedia.
APhotoEditor - is a vital resource for any
editorial photographer. Features, interviews, questions, answers, opinions. Subscribe, and read religiously.
A Photo Student - is James Pomerantz‘s blog. He has some nice reads on there like movies on photography and songs about photography. Every entry is a great read and when he stumbles across some photos, he is always more than happy to share. Just like this entry.
Amy Stein – Fine Art Photographer and Teacher based in New York. Features, Interviews, and some great opinions on this blog.
Appetite by Penny De Los Santos – Food and Travel Photographer Penny De Los Santos‘s blog gives us a behind the scenes look at some of her assignments. The images and videos on this blog are always fun to look at.
Boogie Blog – gives us a glimpse of the life of Boogie, in New York and around the world. His images are full of character and many of them are graphic and surreal. He has also put out some great books over the years.
Chad Holder - This guy shoots everything, and is pretty damn good at it. His portfolio (printed and web) are both great to look at and his blog will sometimes show out takes and behind the scenes photos and information.
Chase Jarvis – Seattle based editorial/commercial photographer’s blog chocked full of insights, lighting diagrams, tutorials, inspiration, and assignments. Yes Homework. An indispensable resource for today’s aspiring photographer.
Conscientious – Blog about contemporary fine art photography with features, interviews, and book/portfolio reviews. An Extended version is also available and has some in – depth interviews with some of today’s best and some longer articles.
Day 19 – Jeremy and Claire Weiss. Super power photography couple shares with us out takes and wonderful stories with their images. The people they come across in their daily lives are just as interesting as they are.
Dirty Blog - Charalampos Kydonakis’ blog features some of the best colored street photography. He sometimes shares with us some great work by other photographers and once in a while you’ll find some great slideshows. He has a great list of links on his blog as well.
dvaphoto – is the work of Matt Lutton, and M. Scott Brauer. They showcase their work, as well as the work of many other photojournalists. They also have a deadline calendar for contests/open calls/workshops
Elizabeth Avedon – Books, Fine Art Photography, Features.
Feature Shoot – by Photographer, Editor, and Curator Alison Zavos. A blog where emerging and established photographers from every field are featured. The site has a massive following and photo editors keep an eye out for the people listed up here. Recipient of Life.com’s 2011 Photo Blog Awards
Hey, Hot Shot! – THE international competition for photographers. The blog features photographers who are in the running for the $10,000 grand prize and crazy exposure.
IPA - or Invisible Photographer Asia is blog that showcases visual journalism and street photography from Asia or by Asian Photographers. Authors include Kevin WY Lee, Paul Swee, Tammy David, Derrick Choo, Jessica Lim, and Alice Tay.
Lenscratch – “Lenscratch is a blogzine that explores contemporary photography and offers opportunities for exposure and community.”
Lens Blog – Photoblog of the New York Times
LPV Magazine – online and print magazine dedicated to contemporary photography. A great blog/magazine that serves as a platform for photographers to showcase their work. There are some great interviews here. They also have a Tumblr, and a Flickr, both of which deserve a look.
Magnum Blog – Blog of Magnum Photos. Currently under renovation.
Tanya-n – Photoblog of Tanya Nagar. A good friend.
Severin Koller Blog – Vienna based street photographer. A personal favorite. Rumored to be working on a book project.
Too Much Chocolate – Online photo exhibit/dialogue space run by Jake Stangel. It features a Rotating Gallery, Interviews, Sunday Showcases, and a Private Forum full of win.
Thisisthewhat – A blog with insightful interviews. Authored by Kate Osba, a Photo Editor based out of New York.
WhatsTheJackanory - is Andrew Hetherington’s blog about the industry. An important blog to follow and also part of Life.com’s Photo Blog Award 2011
Ying Ang’s Blog – Ying Ang of MJR shares her beautiful images on this blog.
*Life.com’s 2011 Photo Blog Awards:
And there you have it. A list of the blogs I personally follow. Please do let me know if I missed out anything in the comments. I’ll try to keep this list up to date and follow up with a list of tumblr blogs to follow as well. Please feel free to share this post with friends.