Erfi Anugrah

Revista

The Seventh

MRT

Iteration or evolution.

I find myself thinking about whether humans are capable of influencing change in themselves. Do we change as people or do the actions themselves change? Would the actions represent us as a individuals capable of conscious thought and effort, or is it separate? Perhaps one way to look at it is the perennial conversation about separating who the artist is as a person and the art that is created. Action and person is separated. In a way.

Why I said whether I have iterated upon myself or whether I have evolved pertains to this. Evolution means that I am entirely different being. Whereas iteration means that I have created a new shell around this core being that is myself. I have dictated some changes towards the actions or reactions that I do on a daily basis. Perhaps, a lot of the things that I do has changed, this includes the kind of art that I indulge in and occasionally create but to say that I have changed might be an egregious error on my part.

I have talked about how we exist within a spectrum of being and this adds on to that idea that we are never really changing but just switching between the multitude of selves, just multifaceted people with evolving actions and habits that we exert upon the world. The intentions, the thought process, the process in itself might not be any different. That is not to say evolution is not possible but it is highly unusual, as far as I can tell.

Change does not just happen, and change is uncomfortable. It takes time. Which is why educating children about ideas and concepts would be a lot easier than say, an adult. But at the same time, it is not about the age (it is the common denominator) but it is about the accumulation of things "I know".

Leading this back, I never liked talking about specifics unless it pertains to my photography (well, not going to start now either). Things are moving along and "evolving" as it moves along. As it is highly dependent on the subjects that I choose to shoot with, the process and outcomes become disparate. Which is both intended and at the same time posing a problem, a rather big one, with coherence and consistency.

Since I intend to create a zine, it is dawning upon me that it might not just be one. There is a consistent theme throughout but at the same time the unique quirks to each might just not make it possible to make one (with some semblance of consistency or a theme). Once I start churning out the images and laying them out then I should be able to see how I can arrange them. Sequencing might be the trickiest part yet.

There are some months left to consolidate before the end of the project, and I would have to do that soon. There are a few more subjects to be shot however I do not know if I should get more or not. It depends entirely on how things pan out in these coming weeks.

In the words of the great Josh Homme, "I can go with the flow."

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The Sixth

A HDB Flat
“What would you not have accomplished if you had been free?" "Possibly nothing at all; the overflow of my brain would probably, in a state of freedom, have evaporated in a thousand follies; misfortune is needed to bring to light the treasures of the human intellect. Compression is needed to explode gunpowder. Captivity has brought my mental faculties to a focus; and you are well aware that from the collision of clouds electricity is produced — from electricity, lightning, from lightning, illumination.”
― Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

We have reached half of the year today. No, it is not anything significant besides acting as a checkpoint, well, to check or see how much that has been accomplished this past half of the year. It does not have to be so but it is what I have been doing monthly either way. That is not to say I do not do daily reflections too. You might say I spend a lot of time looking back at the things I did, the thoughts that ran through my mind, the people I have met, the stories that I have heard. All these things or occurrences that has transpired in my life mattered at one point in time, in those points in time in my life that they mattered.

They have influenced me in subtle ways that shaped me into this person that I am today. At the same time, I believe that people, you and I, as individuals (that's an oxymoron-ic idea in the same sentence) exist infinitely in a finite spectrum of being. Who is to say this person that you are in the past, now and would be in the future is you or is not you? What is the "core" version of you? Is anything really that is set in stone? To think you know something or someone, is the surest way to blind yourself from learning about them, or yourself.

But I digress. As always.

Things are falling into place like jigsaw (yes, Radiohead reference). Almost every aspect of my life is progressing. You can say (so far) things are taking a turn for me. In retrospection, should I talk to "me" from 6 months ago or even 10 months ago, I would be glad to say that a lot has changed, for the better (subjective). Of course, there would always be lapses. But they are few and far in between now, and when they do happen, they are not as intense as they used to be.

Post-hoc rationalisation working its charm. It takes time, certainly. We tend to think we are rational people, that after a certain age, we are adults. See. Being an adult is a state of mind. Not about your age, not about what you do, the people you associate with or the social status that you are born with and any other superficial or material factors.

It is about the thought process, the principles you hold fast, the way you relate to other people, to societal cues and norms. Simply put, to really be able to think for yourself without getting too affected by the environment. Sure, we will get affected either way. But as adults (I would say) you choose what you take in or not. Like the semi-permeable membrane of the cell. Unless you're a plant, then you have the cell wall, nothing gets in. I think. (correct me if I'm wrong, biologists)

The portrait series is trudging along nicely. A whole slew of individuals are lined up to get shot hah. Someone asked to buy some prints of my work, which I have not gotten to yet because the funds are non-existent. But that might change this coming week (I guess not, maybe next week). Exciting stuff is going to happen, exciting because I make it so. When you water the plant regularly, tend to the salinity and alkaline/acidity levels of the soil, the nutrients and the sunlight it requires. When it blooms, it is hard work paid off right? The final flourish. The great pay off.

It all boils down (me and my soup analogies) to discipline. Which is will, consistency and the presence of mind to do what needs to be done, regardless of the environmental, physical and psychological ailments that might be affecting you.

“'I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo. 'So do I,' said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'”


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The Fifth

Tenhultsbaden
No, not in reference to a particular amendment in the American constitution.

When the days start to amalgamate, you begin to think about whether the days you have lived were lived or were they just remnants of a past dream experienced by another version of you in a different space, and in a different time.

There is a story by a Chinese philosopher, Chuang-Tzu, called The Butterfly Dream (it serves as an allegory for the point that I was making, if there was any point at all, as usual):

"Once upon a time, I, Chuang-Tzu, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chuang-Tzu. Soon I awakened, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a distinction. The transition is called the transformation of material things."

This talks about the distinction between illusion and reality, that we can never be sure we are actually awake. We think we might have but we really might have not been. I suppose, when one stops to think about why we do the things that we do, how we live day in and day out, how we do things for the sake of doing them, or to conform - it is not surprising that differentiating the two can be difficult.

That is not to say currently we do not know whether the dreams that we dream about are real or not, or whether that the reality that we live in is real or not. This is more to talk about the things that we do day to day. At least, in my own interpretation or usage of this allegory, when one cannot differentiate one thing from the other.

But, I digress.

It has inevitably come to an end. Perhaps earlier than was hoped to be however any decision to prolong it would be unsound when the reciprocity is unmet. The consequence of which has resulted in my wasting away. I have thought about this perennially, even if I came to the conclusion that it would be a fool's errand, the hope that is there is not lost even when there is none.

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The Fourth

Dumme Mosse II

Not in reference to a particular day in May but if you have been keeping up with reading the monthlies, you would know that this is the fourth one in the series but in actuality it is the fifth because I broke the chain earlier this month.

No matter.

As to what has transpired over the past month would not be as different as you would think it should be. At this point, I would say that I have reached equilibrium during the time that I have spent here. Consequently, the disquiet, and the need for isolation becomes more apparent.

There are some changes, not to say the least, regarding my emotional and mental state. However physically I have, for the better at least. School for the most part remains as unchallenging as it always has been. More and more I feel that it is failing to serve its purpose, especially business schools. We have way too many of those, and they should be bulldozed.

It has reached a point whereby you would even say it has become dull. Although, I find it interesting that my usual life motto being that discipline is key to life, and that having too much freedom has the opposite effect of trapping you within your many fleeting desires, drawing parallels here. School is exactly that. When everything is a choice for the sake of being a choice. Added to the fact that level of difficulty really is something to brush off. And most importantly, there is no consequence.

Sure, failure should be accepted but to a point. When there is no consequence to failing, and the societal acceptance of which leads me to believe that it creates uninspiring, ill-disciplined, weak-willed, social-confirming individuals. Strong words. And I can eat them later on (comment if you want). At the same time, it really does depends on the individual himself doesn't it? Still, a lot can be said about the environment required to nurture said individual.

During the budding years, people learn laterally, parents have less of an impact on their children than you might think, especially in terms of how they learn. The question of whether it is required to change the status quo or not depends on whether the society wants to facilitate that change which depends if it is necessary to their eyes. Need meets want.

I digress.

Photography wise, still nothing for now. But I did receive my SX-70, and have taken a few shots on it, two failures so far but that is just how it is with analogue. The rest turned out pretty good. Definitely a conversation starter, perhaps also a decent-ish parting gift for having their portraits taken. Possibilities are endless.

Well, I guess I have taken more on my phone than anything else I suppose (the best camera is the one you have with you at that time that you need to take a photo). Which leads me to a point about getting a really good compact camera. Now you see a pattern here. As much as I would like to bring my Leica around, the place is not dynamic enough. It is not alive as I would like it to be. Everything is same-y. Then again, if I constantly have to justify my actions (don't get me wrong, everyone should), nothing gets done.

So a little "folj med strömmen" should be good.

Then again, that is probably me with G-A-S.

With a serious case of ennui.

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Pushit

Dumme Mosse

But I'd trade it all for just a little peace of mind.

If you are privy to the title, then great. If not, it is a song by Tool is a bit about breaking negative patterns, in standard Tool fashion, with sex allegories. I recommend you give it a listen, well, also the other Tool songs.

This is also to notify you, my dear readers (however small that number may be) that I have added web push notifications to the website (haha yes, now you know why I chose the title among other things), you will get a notification to allow notifications, and that is all, not much there is to it. Not to worry, you will not be spammed. I do not post updates that often but I feel this public service announcement is necessary in case you thought it was spam or something like that. The website is encrypted and protected using Cloudflare so it is safe as it can be, without paying, and being on the internet that is.

And if you are wondering how my work is going, well, I have to say, not as well as I hoped it would be. But I have some film negatives ready to be developed. I hope soon, I will start shooting more. Get everything developed and publish it all at once as a complete wholesome body of work. Doing a long form project is definitely a different beast of its own. Especially in this day and age of instant gratification, instantaneous access to information and set weekly schedules of endorphin intake from your favourite social media outlet.

It is good to slow down and take it in, sometimes.

I get it. I like to do things fast, I like to finish something before moving on if not it will nag at me for the rest of the day, week, month or year until the thing that I have to do, gets done.

Then, comes the aspect of having to do something with lofty expectations or ideals which I have always found myself setting. It is unrealistic, yes. It is probably, definitely, mentally and physically unhealthy. But it pushes me. Definitely not very sustainable, so I have to strike a little balance there, and figure out a mental system in which I can function to the best of my ability and skill.

Well, that became a rant, again. But hey, I do not feel good about posting a short one. I expect my readers to have a little more attention span.

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The Third

Taberg

I have not been diligent this time. Coming up with something for the month of March would prove to be challenging mostly because it was fraught with assignments and examinations. I am halfway through at this juncture. I must say I am disappointed in various aspects of my progress or rather the hindrances to the things that I want to do or achieve (excuses). The Stockholm marathon may prove to be a no-go situation because my Swedish language examination is on the same day. Photography wise, after Umeå, it took a back-seat kind of. But hey, a fancy almost fully functioning SX-70 is coming my way soon. So that is something to look forward to.

Since it's springtime, there is much to look forward to, with more sun, and therefore more outdoor time. The people that have told me about how they want their portraits to be, love the outdoors like I do, so I hope that aspect would be more fruitful, at the very least, I shall endeavour to do so.

In retrospect, what has changed? I guess, I am in a better position overall. Still some ways to go but it is something. Post-hoc rationalisation may work here now. So we will see how that turns out. One thing that I have thought about is how we seem to behave in predictable patterns. At least, I have caught myself doing so. It is pretty easy to get trapped in routines, you get comfortable.

Don't get me wrong. Discipline is important. But when you think about the people who are seemingly more fortunate than you are, it is not that there is that element of luck per se (there is, to an extent) but for things to happen you have to keep an open mind. Explore, be curious.

"Luckier" people I think, tend to be more "present", they are observant and are always on the look out for opportunities. Before you face your adversities, first you must win that battle in your mind.

It is like what Wayne Gretzky said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

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The Second

Lifelong

After a bit of a sporadic first month, things are starting to stabilise. A lot of the time there is that feeling of jadedness within myself, with everything that I was experiencing. Social interactions became less and less interesting; onset of boredom, desolation and everything in between, hidden behind a facade of smiles and cheery voices.

In spite of which, there are some bright spots. I have talked to the photography-in-charge of the county museum, and have seen the darkroom. It has an old school layout as pointed out by my photography teacher. It has a bunch (a lot) of photographic paper, some chemicals for printing but lacking on the film development front. Of which, I still have not worked out the logistics. Besides that, I was offered to teach courses there. But thinking of it now, I cannot really teach without the necessary materials to do so. So, there is that. Also, a small exhibition for myself (or the class?), which is amazing (either way).

More people have accepted to be my subjects for the project. I have also gotten a new 50mm lens (Carl Zeiss Planar) for it. Has some dust specks within the lens elements but it should not be too much of a problem, I hope. Some are really interested in the project, and they have put quite a bit of thought into how they want themselves to be presented, which is again, amazing. Although, the conception of the idea of the project itself evolved over time. Which is fine, and is something to be seen as a good thing I feel. To a point.

I went to Poland; Kraków and Warsaw. Met an old friend. Did not want to return. It was not something I can really tell tales with. But it is something significant nonetheless. The little things, the indescribables. Took portraits of her, quite a bit more than the usual but that also goes without saying, as to why I did.

At this juncture, most of the school term is done, and what is left are the assignments. The assignments are not challenging by any means. And at this point, I feel that I did not really learn anything new. Ended up being a didactic motherfucker instead. I am not getting anything useful yet besides the things that I have already talked about in a positive light.

What do I really take away from this month? I suppose it is more of the internal processes we go through. It is always good to think about the things that you are doing, and re-think them again and again. Soon, the decisions you have made before start to make less sense. The motivations change. You perhaps second guess yourself. Make more mistakes. Feelings dissipate. Confusion. Coldness.

It is fine. All is well.

We all have to go through our own versions of a thought process. It is about the journey, not the end. At least, as an academic exercise. We are this stage whereby we are still in a protective bubble. So, we can do that, and we should because soon it would not be the case any longer. But like with most things, this is something you have to go through yourself. The same idea about how you have the key, and all I can do is to show you the door.

You are the one who has to go through it.

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The First

Gränna

A month has passed. Some things has certainly changed, and others remained the same or in the sense that they became solidified. I have come to know a myriad of interesting characters, some having the potential of being a part of a greater ideal, others may just be passing acquaintances. Only time will tell.

Interesting stories are heard, and told. More so than I can possibly recount here without creating a contrived novel with no clear direction. Vistas that I would look back and remember; the sights, the sounds. Most importantly, despite the flurry of changes, the ebb and flow of everything around me; the direction is clear, and the movement is unceasing. Always forward.

Progress is slow at times, which is fine since things are being done for that aim(s) that I do have in mind. No reason why you can’t do it all (within reason). To say that much more can be done within this period is certainly possible however upon retrospection things are going along fine or rather that I do have to take it easy sometimes.

Personally, I suppose I am taking two steps forward, and three steps backward; a lot of the time, despite everything else trudging along at a steady pace or even picking up speed. I know that it is something I cannot leave to its own devices, but I have my priorities for now. To say this would be a bad decision or a good one, would only be known with time.

But what is clear now certainly was something that wasn’t before. It’s not new per se, it was something apparent even then. But it required a bit more rumination and persuasion, to re-realise it. So, at the very least that is achieved (I hope).

As to what is to come, I would say there would be a lot more. I do apologise for the lack of content, and it is intentional. The next thing would have to be the portrait series that I am working on currently. A portrait was done recently, hopefully needn’t be redone, and more to come in the coming months.

You can call it a palate cleansing, if you will. Enjoy the landscape shot for the time being.

Till then.

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Obligatory

Same vision, different perspectives

As it goes, it's the new year, so we have to post something to reflect on the previous year, be it a change that one inspires to do or a reflection. But everyone does it. So, you decide not to do one. But then again, you give admission to the fact that people do. To not do one is reactionary due to the fact that you didn't do it because of others but even if you didn't think of that, and should you be asked, no one would believe it. But you don't really care, right?

Then, there's the case of doing it knowing that everyone does it but not caring, because you're doing it because of yourself, and that somehow you live in a vacuum not being affected by the environment's influence.

Of course, the answer is that it's based on a social context that has been built since Babylonia but the version that we know of is contemporary in nature. Because if you really had to reflect on the year only when it's at its end, (which in a way has some logic behind it) you realise it's not very effective (well I guess you don't since you still do it), as probably the majority of the changes that you want to make could have been made within the year itself instead of waiting for a "clean slate" the new year brings.

I think that this is a special kind of ignorance. You'd be surprised at the kind of mental gymnastics people put themselves through to justify their actions. Sure, one might say that they did it just because, but that has little meaning. I'm sure there are people but as social creatures that we are. It's more the exception than the rule.

So, what does it make this post though?

At the end of the day, either way, you're wrong. So fuck it, and go with the reason that you initially conceived. Put enough thought to it or not, you're wrong. So don't bother trying to justify it. No one cares.

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Hiatus

It's a click-bait-y title but it's not that all inaccurate. This would be the last photo series posted for the foreseeable future, well, until I'm done with the exchange probably, and done with the portrait series. Instagram would stop for a bit as well. I have a few more photos from this series to be posted then it'll stop when I fly off this Saturday. Instagram Stories may still be a thing though, but I have to figure out where and how to edit videos in Sweden. The Android apps aren't any good, so we'll see how that goes.

Till then.

P.S: Essays would still be posted from time to time.

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Forever and a Day

Stages

The number 23 seems to a recurring theme throughout my life. I'm not into this mumbo-jumbo stuff but it is interesting nonetheless. For this year it seems to be more a bad omen than anything else. Well, besides my birthday which is in a month's time. And within a week, I'll be off to the Nordics (I still haven't packed or prepared anything, tomorrow perhaps).

What's this about? Well, everything and nothing. Just figured I should write something today and see where my mind takes me. And I apologise for the recent posts, they haven't been about photography per se. But you know, my internal processes and my environment does affect it, so in a way, I am. It's a bit of a stretch but hey, it's my website. I think I get to do almost anything I want.

In perpetuum et unum diem is where the title of this post came from. It might sound familiar, some romance films have it as their title. And it makes sense, it talks about undying devotion, well, until you're actually dead. It's a romance film, so having a romantic title fits the bill, romantic gestures. Idealism. But, it can be for yourself too. When you take away everything from a person, I believe what's left is the person's belief (hah pun). His/her (I don't actually have to do this, in English, a general he/his/man is gender neutral, if I'm not mistaken, but you don't want SJWs coming in here) principles. Or his/her word.

Oftentimes, we tend to seek extrinsic sources of motivation, something to devote ourselves to, something to give us purpose. But maybe, it should be inward instead. Don't get me wrong. Having to live for something greater than yourself is, well, amazing. But not everyone can find that. I thought I did. Maybe, I still do. But yeah, now I don't know. Hence, today we talk about intrinsic motivation, devotion, belief ladida.

Why does it have to be internal? It's hard, it's vague, it's slow. "Find your inner strength", for example, is a very vague expression. What do you even look for? Yet, those age old masters of wisdom expound this till their breath went stale.

The best analogy I can come with up with is the base load.

In electrical utility companies, they determine demand of electricity through the base load, intermediate, and peak load. Base load is something they absolutely have to be able to produce electricity at. And this is the argument against clean energy for example, since it's volatile. That's why battery technology is so important for the development of clean energy. But I digress.

Internal motivations for example, is to target the base load. You can always rely on it. Because you can always rely on yourself. Unless you're mentally unstable or paraplegic. Or bipolar. But you get the point. Extrinsic motivations, are to target the peak loads, sudden bursts of energy that you can use to target those times whereby demand is spiking. Things like discipline and your principle are things that should never be able to be eroded away or changed willy-nilly. They are stable.

So, why not devote yourself to yourself. To be a better version of yourself, whatever that means to you.

Forever and a day.

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Video Logs

Abyss

For those who are privy, you know that I have posted some video blogs or video logs or vlogs on Instagram. Not sure why I wanted to do this but I saw a video (as always) and decided to myself:

"You know what, I'll start making some as well."

So, fast forward to today, which isn't that long ago to be honest, I have posted a few videos already. Two Five just went up today (well just now) as a part of a longer one. I realised it's near to impossible to sum up a three hour trip into just one 15 second video. So, breaking it up it is then.

But it quickly dawned upon me that, sure, it has been said to be too much work for 15 second videos, no one is going to see again in 24 hours (Instagram updated it with highlights, so it's no longer that much of a problem, rather it gives more options to pick and choose what you want to post indefinitely), it didn't really hit me till I started doing it.

Boy. It really is, a lot of work.

But it's fun. And it's challenging. I'm learning as I go along. This is indeed a niche area to work on. But since I'm already on the Instagram bandwagon. Why the hell not? Diversifying risk as they say, with some adaptability of course.

Well, um, enjoy?

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Stoicism

Off to work

You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength. - Marcus Aurelius

I do not deem myself to be an expert on stoicism or even talk about it at a capacity whereby I can be said to be knowledgeable about it. However, I do want to talk about it in the perspective that I see life in or rather, in the limited way by which I utilise this philosophy in mine. Or perhaps, sometimes the failure of which.

Let's begin.

The semester has indeed finally ended. And the next year will be for the most part; highly, highly uncertain (but before that I have to survive the remaining of this year first). I simply do not have any sort of an inkling as to what will happen or how things will turn out. But I guess in that respect it is going to be exciting. Or nerve-wracking. Whichever way you want to look at it. I have some plans laid out for those who are not privy to this information prior to this. Not new certainly, but are starting to come to light, and some closer to fruition. But perhaps, even that is too soon to say:

  1. A photography project (long form portrait series, hope that museum replies to me soon they replied, "Yes." hehe)
  2. Pseudo-business plans (anthropologically-focused block-chain integrated micro-financing project and a collaboration with Hakim and Matt)
  3. Overseas Entrepreneurship Programme (if I do get it)
  4. Internships in Europe (currently sourcing in Sweden, if I do get one, maybe Pascal can help me with that as well in Germany)

So, that's about it I think. We all have our own fair share of troubles but we always have to move forward. Don't get me wrong, it gets really hard sometimes. I do not need to go into details about how hard things can get.

I really do like this Swedish quote I found mid of last year (more than 1.5 years ago):

Det blir som det blir.

It literally means "it will be like it will be". Sounds a bit negative but it is very Stoic in its nature. The English interpretation is, "We must take things as we find them". Being that, we make plans not to make circumstances fit those plans, but make plans to fit those circumstances as aptly put George S. Patton in War as I knew It (1947).

Keep busy, be productive. Idle hands are the devil's workshop (speaking of which, I now have 8 rolls of Kodak Tri-X, 5 rolls of Cinestill 800T, and an incoming 5 rolls of Kodak Portra 160, 5 rolls of Cinestill BwXX and 5 more rolls of Cinestill 800T. Mmmm. So goood).

That is not to say to keep busy with things that will make you regret doing the next day just because you decided to do it for the sake of doing it, to fit in or whatever lame excuse you are using to justify yourself. The moment you have to bend yourself to justify your actions, take a step back, then two, then turn around, and walk home buddy. Just go on home.

Just putting it out there. You really have to be blatant sometimes.

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Marathon Man

Collision

Copyright claim on that title.

So yes, I ran a marathon yesterday. 

It still feels surreal that I actually have done it. There's that feeling euphoria of having completed it. But when all's settled. All of life's miseries came rushing back in spades. I did tear up at one point during the race. And my thoughts in the beginning of the race was filled by things besides the race. Not a good way to start. But, the first half was not too bad.

I am now suffering like an old man. I can barely walk or stand up or sit down or go down the stairs. Everything's a pain. But I am eating a lot now, which is a good thing. I have to gain back all the lost muscle. So yes, I might try the gym this time. I'll do a 5x5 programme. Functional strength.

it's a time for recovery now (in the literal sense). Getting back into physical shape, training and running a marathon does wondrous damage to your body.

So why a marathon? To those who know me to some capacity. They'll say I don't like running long distances, or that I find it boring. Which is true. So why? Why suffer for 42.195km, doing something I don't like, pay money for it, then get pain and suffering afterwards? Why do anything at all I guess. Everyone has their reasons for doing anything that they set out to do. Nothing's really right or wrong. 

I guess it's the same reason why anyone else does it I suppose. For me personally, those reasons above are exactly why. I wanted to prove it to myself that I could do something as hard as that and pull through. And to do it,  just for the sake of it (I can be a bit of a masochist sometimes). And I want to see if I really can follow through with my mantra of "finishing what I started". 

So I did it. And I will probably do another next year. Give it another go. For statistical purposes.

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Revista: Explained

The title of my website means journal in Spanish. But if you look at it in English, vista means pleasing view. And the "re" means looking back, or repeating. So all in all, should be pretty self explanatory.

It is a collection of vistas that have happened in the past, and here we are looking back at them in retrospection. A collection of experiences that I have had, so in that way, it is a journal of my travels or of how I see things in my day to day. 

Or rather what I deem as pleasing to my eye, or interesting to say the least.

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Singularity

I started this post but totally forgot about it. Which was four days ago. Better late than never right?

Let's begin.

No, I'm not talking about black holes. But it is a metaphor. it is about focusing too much on one thing. Being a bit too myopic that you lose sight of everything else including yourself. In some occasions, it can be desirable. Like being in the zone when playing a sport competitively. Or just generally trying to drown out undesirable thoughts, and undesirable people.

This is a thing that I have work on, for myself, with regards to academia and photography. Being that I should focus more. And get rid of the undesirable distractions. But at the same time, trying not to lose sight of things that do actually matter. Balance right?

Parallela

A little symmetry to drive the point.

And to end off, if you're too myopic when taking photos on the streets, you'll miss out on everything else. However, if the point was to focus on that one thing, then the pay off from the quality of the images you get from focusing should overcome the lost potential of other great photos that could have been taken.

But that's just it, what ifs.

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Sporadic

It's probably just the nature of things. The more you sit on it, and dwell on it - the more you see things, newer things that you haven't seen before. Similar to watching a film you've watched as a child then watching it again when you're little bit older, then again when you're a little bit older. Each time, you find some new insight due to your growth as a person, and the maturation of your thoughts.

These photos I think, don't really fit a certain continuity but I feel are interesting enough - so here they are. Not sure if there'll be a Hong Kong IV, because that'll really be milking it. 

Till then.

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Expression and Acceptance

The need for balance is of utmost importance.

Emotion, clouds it. Objectivity, detaches you from it. Experience, from reflection. Connection, from empathy. Empathy, from conscious effort to understand. Understanding, requires thought, patience and time.

Now that the pretentious part is done with, we can begin. (they say writing is therapeutic, so here I am trying to keep my sanity for a little while longer)

Let's talk.

Since this is a photography website or my photography portfolio or what have you. We'll talk about how I express myself through my images.

(if you care that is, continue to read).

You'll see that the black and white ones are dark. I mean, yes, it's black and white. But it's dark. Like this one for example:

And for colour, I tend to go for pastel or muted in the tones. Like these examples (the middle one being my favourite for both obvious and less obvious reasons):

Gaze

There is a certain kind of balance required I feel. And what I think doesn't really matter. See, it's okay to be objective. And for the most part, it is desirable. What I have found best is to follow your gut or instinct or that little voice in your head. Okay, maybe not that little voice in your head.

In addition to that, as the person taking the photo, or the person writing, or experiencing a certain situation. This idiom comes to mind, "(right) under someone's (very) nose". The closer we are to something, it can be an objective even. The less we see. Myopic is a good analogy for it. So we have to take a step back right?

Now this is the hard part. 

I have made countless mistakes, most I can recover from. And some, I couldn't. And some, I just don't know. Those "some mistakes" are unfortunately really big ones, which they usually are. The kind that sticks with you for life, in good ways and bad, shapes you into a different kind of being or specifically person (I'm just being species neutral here).

Okay wait, what's the hard part? 

Ops, got lost in my thoughts there. The hard part is actually doing it. Sounds obvious right? And half of it is actually being aware enough to catch yourself before it's too late. 

How do we make it easier? 

Having good friends. Now, this is subjective. But in my opinion, friends should be people who can take a step back from whatever biases (I mean there will always be a bias), and judge what you did. They know you well enough and aren't afraid of saying harsh things to you. I know that friends should always get your back right? Well, not always. Friends should always tell you if you're doing something wrong, or stupid and especially not leave you to your own devices when your gut can't be trusted.

It's the same reason why even Magnum photographers have editors to pick images for them. They are too close to it. It's also another reason why I tend to develop film late, or sit on it for a long period of time. (although I should be better with developing it earlier) I come to it with no memory or much memory of what has transpired during that shot. You can't really do that with life though, with relationships for example.

Which is why you need to have that support structure. Everyone does. Even me. There are good ones and bad ones. If you're of sane mind at this time, there's no better time than now to think about it. Constant reflection is key to self-improvement. Even if you fail again. Even if you repeat again. Reflect always.

If you don't have that support structure. Then, there's really not much you alone can do about it. You can try to rationalise your way out of it. Or distract yourself. But those are band-aid solutions. It has to go deeper. And few can do that alone. Try seek help. Ask for opinions. Then, just ride it out I suppose. I can't really offer any insight here. To each his own. Or her own.

Which brings us back to expression. In other words, the colour of communication. If you got that part down right, most of your problems are gone. 

The rest is really up to the interpretation of the recipient. And then, you just have to accept it. 

P.S: No more image posts on the site for now I think. But we'll see soon enough. Or not.
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Architecture

This is something that I have always liked doing but I don't think that I have gotten any better at it. I don't know really. So, enjoy these ones, and if you're able, tell me how I can improve on the shots. These are in colour, so that's always something different from my usual black-and-white perspective of the world. I'll be running out of photos to post pretty soon. But fortunately, I have a bunch of film to shoot with soon. 9 rolls of Tri-X and 5 rolls of CineStill 800T. Really looking forward to that. Hope you are too.

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Projects

"Seek freedom and become captive of your desires, seek discipline and find your liberty." - Frank Herbert

As you have seen (or have not), I have yet again created a new page. This is more for the short term, specific-focused works that I have, compared to the more longer term yet not really long-form works that you have seen, that took months or years to have finally seen the light of day (I just love long running sentences, don't I?).

So, this is for me to improve within boundaries. Kaizen.

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