Happy New Year!

2008. I Thank you for all the wonderful wins and learning experiences.

2009. I await you with anticipation of greater things to come.

To everyone. I hope 2009 brings you joy and happiness.

For me. This is what 2009 will be for me…..

Dream big.
Make commitments.
Have resolve.
Celebrate life.
Take Chances.
Always ask.
Say please and thank you.
Love everyone.
Never say no to people in need.
Always be a little bit hungry and never full.
Be thankful for everything.

I leave you with my final picture taken this afternoon…

PETRONAS Twin Towers

Photo essay by Philip Toledano

I was browsing through Andy Illachinki’s Tao of Photography website when I came across a post that suggested I visited a site containing a photo essay called ‘Day’s with my father’ by photographer Philip Toledano.

I was moved to tears by the whole experience. It’s in an extraordinary story. Its raw honesty is overpowering.

Such is the power of pictures. Thank you Mr Toledano (both of you)…..

Developing a vision

Roll 48_0028
Shadows of a gate

Now that I have solved my film developing woes I can concentrate on the vision of my photography. I read an excellent article by George Barr on Luminous Landscape entitled ‘Taking Your Photography To The Next Level’. In Part 3 of that series, Mr Barr writes,

‘It seems to me that to start, you are looking for scenes which have an emotional impact on you. Then you go about trying to show that somehow. If on the other hand, you see something and think it will make an interesting composition, no matter how carefully you line things up, no matter how subtle the lighting, fine the detail, delicate the shadows – it’s unlikely to create a reaction in it’s viewers which you didn’t see first. First you find the interest, then you find the picture, not the other way round‘.

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XDR TB – Extremely Drug Resistant TB

Last year, James Natchwey became a recipient of one of the 3 TED grant a wish award for 2007. This was his wish: “I’m working on a story that the world needs to know about. I wish for you to help me break it in a way that provides spectacular proof of the power of news photography in the digital age.”

On October 3, he released a series of images on XDR (Extremely Drug Resistant) TB. Check out his images and spread the word.

 

2008- Pictures by Reza Ali

 

2008 was a year of great growth for me. If I were to list it all the things which has happened to me in terms of my photography, the list would be long indeed. But here are 5 highlights:

January – Trip to India. New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur

May- embarking on journey of off camera lighting

September – embarking of journey of mastering black and white film (and my first Leica M)

October – first sale of an image

November – first proper professional shoot

Each of these events is significant for my photograph both in term of sheer technical development as well as approach and mindset. Truth be told, I never really gave my photograph a chance. I enjoyed it and it gives me great pleasure and even though I love the comments and compliments given by people, I always thought that my vision (and therefore my imagery) was normal. It wasn’t until I made a choice to bring my photography to a level where people would pay extra-ordinary amounts of money for it did I realy begin to challenge myself and therefore grow.

I feel that 2009 is going to be explosive. 2008 was a year of learning. 2009 is going to be a year of results…..

The curse of competency

Jim Collins, author of the book ‘Good To Great’ said in the book,

‘Good is the enemy of great’,

What that means is that being good at something (or even recognising that you are good at something) you can fall into what he calls the curse of competency and once that happens, you may eliminate any hopes of becoming great. I try to think about that in relation to my photography and in my life in general. I have never been truly satisfied with my photography. Always thinking of doing something better. Always wishing I had done this angle and that angel. Always lamenting about the shot that got away or that I should have moved just a little bit to the left. A great example is my portrait shoot of Altin Tafilaj. I spent an afternoon at his place and took a series of portraits. When I got home and started post production work, the doubts and insecurities started to creep in. Arghhhh. I should have done this. I should have done that.

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Portrait – Debra Fialek

I had the opportunity to add to my portfolio of musicians portraits when horn player Debra Fialek asked me to take portraits of her. I did my usual research on the net looking for portraits of horn players. I got some great help from British photographer Paul Davis who showed me some portraits he took. It was a great reference point for me. I just love how the internet enables people form all over the world to lend support to others even if they haven’t met.

The shoot went well and I know I have a few definitive portraits of Debra. I hope she likes them. The image above is one of my favourite and is a far departure form what I am used to.

Sigh

Sigh. My car was broken into in the wee hours of the morning yesterday. What a learning experience (i.e. mistake). I left my Canon EOS 40D with the 50mm f/1.8 attached as well as my beloved Pentax LX with 50mm f/1.2 both of which were stolen. I am not too bothered by the loss of the digital camera but losing the LX hurts real bad…..

Luckily my EOS 3 and 85mm f/1.2 as well as my 24-70mm f/2.8 were kept with me. I am now left with shooting with a Canon 300D as my primary body. I’ve got a portrait shoot on monday and am hoping the 300D can do the job. Otherwise I’ll have to scramble around looking for a digital body.