Monday, November 22, 2010

Into the Wild

Last friday, friend and I, let's call friend 'EM, walked over to the Natural History Museum to check out the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition.

Equipped with student cards, we waltzed our way through with a substantial (50%) discount on the ticket which is otherwise 9gbp. Impressive. Student ID's that have an expiry date far far away just rock!

There were about 100+ photos, in various categories. My personal favorites were those with animals in them rather than just the landscape views. I think it is because these pictures capture an action or emotion, and most often a spectrum of them that can be captured only because the animals are oblivious to the cameras, or in time ignore them. Snnneaky, but so cool.

Some interesting things that came up:

To travel or not to travel? Some photographers seemed to have gone out of their cocoon and travelled to places far from home, camped at dangerous spots with potentially achy knees, waiting patiently for the perfect shot. On the other hand, you had a photographer who just took a few steps, looked out his window, made a dash for his camera and lo! he captured a fantastic shot of a bird against a pristine background, but was probably a snow-covered cement road. It could very well look like he was in a land far away.

Patience. A description on one of the photographs explains that the photographer was waiting for about 2 weeks for a particular type of bird to do something, when it finally happened! The important words being - 'two weeks'! I would love to be a wild life photographer, but two weeks? 'EM says I'd not have the patience. If it is two weeks of sitting calmly, staring at green grass, waiting for a movement, I'd have to agree. But, I am open to hoisting up on a machan with lots of books, and possibly my laptop, and music and waiting for the King of the Jungle to stroll by. That I can do. Multi-tasking to an extent is an asset I believe.

A thousand words. A 1000 words may be a bit much, but even tho' some photos are visually stunning, there are some that transform from 'nice' to 'exceptional', all with the inclusion of a mere 20 or 30 words.

Three collages were placed in the exhibition as part of the 'Photojournalist of the year award', and while you can get a pretty good sense of what the overall idea is, it is worthwhile reading the accompanying words. Once you've read those words, it's almost like the picture comes alive in many more ways than when you saw it in isolation. If you click here to see 'The House In the Woods', you'll see what I mean

I think we all create our own interpretation of a collage, which depending on how creative you are, 'it is intriguing', or it is kinda 'blah'. And then sometimes, words provided to you force you to explore new possibilities with that same photograph, and then again, sometimes you fall in love with it completely, or then just consider the vision the photographer had for the photo silly, and the photographer officially, cuckoo.

The wonderful thing about us humans is this opinion thing. You are always entitled to it, so you can always be right in your opinion.

When I grow up. Kids younger than 10 were featured in this exhibition. How cool! Most of their photographs had captions that started something like, "When my father and I...." Sweet and very commendable too. I have a Nikon D90, now, quite late in life. These guys are lucky. So young, and already featuring photographs in exhibitions. Kudos kiddos!

And now I've picked just two of the photographs, coz if I went for more, I'd be in a fix. I liked too many.

Endangered Wildlife
Andy Rouse - Tiger Stalking

Nature in Black and White
Ken Dyball - Lookout

Pic Source: Natural History Museum website

Today I'm humming: Soobax by K'naan


  1. Once, a long long time ago I went to a photography exhibition 'the World of Islam' at the Kuala Lumpur Petronas Twin Towers.

    There was this picture by a western photographer; of a scene taken in an old mosque. The sunlight filtered down from a cracked dome by dust, on top of a few men praying in solitude.

    It was beyond beautiful. It was divine. And the only photograph I still remembered.

    Made me wanna be an amateur photographer, that photograph :) And I am now. Ha ha ha.

    And nice pic of the tiger!

  2. My older brother is really into photography. Sometimes he even gets paid for it. He's always with his camera trying to capture moments.

    In my opinion... ehem... you don't need to go out in the wild to capture that dramatic picture. Sometimes the most interesting pictures are taken close to home.

    All it takes is a creative mind, a keen eye and an open heart.