Sunday, December 28, 2008

What Is A Photo Essay?

A photo essay is a type of photo presentation whereby a series of photos are arranged in such a way to tell a story or evoke emotions in their viewers. A photo essay may be accompanied by a text or commentary or may not.

Just like in a verbal narrative, the photos in a photo essay may be arranged sequentially (temporally or spatially) or in any other modes of arrangement depending on the message that the author or the photographer wants to convey or the emotions he or she wants to evoke. A photo essayist may even choose to let the viewers or audience decide for themselves the order by which they want to "read" the visual narrative. In relation to the way the photos are presented, therefore, the narrative of a photo essay may be descriptive, expository, argumentative or a combination of any of them in its orientation.

The plot of a photo essay may also vary: Single, multiple, linear or flashback, and simple or complicated. However, considering the nature of still photographs, it may, in my opinion, be a little bit difficult to have multiple plots in a photo essay.

A photo essay may concentrate on events, places, or people. Regardless of its subject, a photo essay strives to present the essence of the subject that becomes its theme.

The following is an example of photo essay. I decided not to include a commentary on this one.

Text and pictures by Eki Qushay Akhwan, all rights reserved.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Photo Exploration # 33: Street

To me, photography is not about cameras or other complicated technical matters; it's about the way of seeing, and visualizing what you have in mind.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Travel Photography # 04: Crossing The Golden Gate (A "Photo Scavenger Hunt" Post)

Photography is my passion. But there are also other things that I enjoy doing: Travelling, reading, gardening, and teaching.

Teaching is of course my profession, but more than that it's a profession with a passion. I've tried other jobs before and even though they were good and well paying, none was as satisfying - and addictive - as teaching. I'm glad I chose this profession and I'm proud to be a teacher.

And here are the photos for my participation in this week's "Photo Scavenger Hunt":

Photo 1: That is me - the one with that camera backpack - and my wife's colleage on the Golden Gate bridge. He used to study in California and knows a lot about San Francisco. He tried to explain to me about a few things we saw from the bridge. My wife took this photograph. She's not very much into photography. In fact, she often says that she can't use a camera! She's very good at other things though - she's very smart and, apart from photography, she can do a lot of things better than I can.

Photo 2: Here is my wife and me, posing at the Golden Gate park with the bridge and the San Francisco bay at the background. Her colleague took this photograph.

These photographs were taken last year (2007) on our trip to three US cities. It was her business trip. I was only a chaperon.

Oh, and here is a 42 second video clip of the bride crossing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Travel Photography # 03: Advertising God on the Street of San Francisco

Last year I accompanied my wife for a week-long marketing trip to three US cities. San Francisco was our first stop. It was my second visit to San Francisco.

I always like this city even before I visited it. I had read a lot about it and dreamed of visiting it long before I actually had a chance to visit it. The first chance to visit this city came in 2005 when I was studying in the US. Just like what I had read, SF was really a wonderful city and I fell in love it. So the second visit I made to the city last year was like visiting a long time friend whom I had not seen for quite a while.

I like SF's breezy and cool air (eternal spring?), warm sun, the hilly landscapes, wonderful architectural heritage, its astonishing varieties of food from every corner of the world; but most of all, I like its friendly and liberal atmosphere. People on the streets seemed to be much more ready to smile and were less inhibited to speak to strangers and visitors like myself than any other cities I had visited in the US.

The streets are very lively too. The Chinatown has somewhat familiar feel about it. The sights and sounds are just like what I am used to at home. I guess it's the common Asian experience we share with the Chinese people. Other streets ... feels like ... well ... the American melting pot: African American, Asian American, Latino American ...

What happened in this photo was, I think, quite unique. I've never seen it anywhere else. This man of church was advertising God's love - on the street!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Travel Photography # 02: Vietnam War Memorial, Washington D.C.

I visited Washington, D.C. twice, first in summer 2004, and then in spring 2005. I took this photo in my second visit.

Washington, D.C. has many monuments and memorials, of which quite a few are dedicated to the nation's memories of the different wars it has been involved throughout its history. While other war memorials I have visited in D.C. are solemn and have the appropriate respectful atmosphere to the fallen soldiers of the wars, none of them could inspire in me the chilling feel of the Vietnam War Memorial.

The thousands of names inscribed on those black marble walls should remind us how cruel wars are - both to the persons whose names are written there and their families, and to those whose names are not and will never be written anywhere because they are just "too ordinary" to make it into a historical document of some sort.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Photo Exploration # 30: Backyard Photography

It's not that hard to find an inspiration for your photography subject if you really look with you mind's eye.

A photo hunting doesn't have to be a trip to a far away or an exotic place.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Photo Exploration # 28: Homo Urbanicus 01

What is homo urbanicus?

Homo urbanicus is a type of human species (homo sapiens) who live in a special kind of environment of dense human-made structures commonly called the city.

In many ways homo urbanicus are not very much different from homo sapiens, but they do have their own unique traits. They, for example, are so used to being encased (enclosed?) in structural limitations that they see these structures as being a normal part of their existence. In fact, they love these structures so much that they think they can't live without them: They homes are typically small, cramped structures where they put a tube window called television to help them see the "real" wild world. When they are not working, they can sit for hours in front of this tube marvelling at the outside world. Most of their jobs, by the way, are conducted in walled structures called "office" - a place where they spend more than half of their lifetimes to earn their lives/living/livelihood. When they get bored with home and office work, they "go out". But their outings are not really outings. They usually go into another kind of walled structures called "malls," "movie theaters" or any other similar structures where they can get entertained.

Well, this short prose may not be about photography per se, but at least it's an attempt to verbalize the experience of the picture.


Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Photo Exploration # 27: Self Portrait

In the world of art, self portrait is often defined as an attempt by an artist to depict oneself in his/her own work of art. This depiction can be an exploration of the artist's own pysche or just a self modeling.

Many artists of different media have done one kind of self portrait or another. Although the making of self portrait is not new (ancient Egyptian of the 14th century BC are known to have practiced this), the real self portrait in the sense of identifiable self-portrait "that is a separate painting,[and] not an incidental part of a larger work" is often considered by many not to begin until the fifteenth century with the work of Jean Fouquet(Self Portrait, c. 1450).

Friday, December 5, 2008

Photo Exploration # 26: Hong Kong Airport Roof Structure

I took this photo when we had a stop over in Hongkong on our recent trip to the United States. There are two things that fascinated me about this airport: The roof structure and its optimal use of natural lighting.

As I said before, I somehow have a special affinity to geometry. Subjects with geometrical shapes always fascinate me.

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