On a dark moonless night, man creates the fairy light.
The hub for all projects by Dirk Swillens Photography - All images © Dirk Swillens
On a dark moonless night, man creates the fairy light.
When I wrote the first part of what made me fall in love with Phnom Penh, a friend remarked I could as well have enjoyed it in Hanoi. I’m afraid that is going to be the case for most, if not all of the parts that follow, and not only in Hanoi.
The second element that seduced me is the elegance of shapes, in particular in architecture. Old architecture, that is, as today’s building style, not only here, can unfortunately only be called ‘lacking style’. The only place, during my travels in South-East Asia, where I still found an abundance of the use of natural resources in building, applied with a sense of art, is Java - an idea for another photo story.
The only European style I can relate it to, -though in a more simplistic version-, is the Art Nouveau from Victor Horta. If ever you have the opportunity to visit one of the private homes designed by him, -most of them are in Avenue Louise in Brussels-, don’t think twice !
The only buildings where this, -I’d call it the Angkorian style-, is used nowadays are major official buildings and pagodas, although there is no comparison with the ways of before, as everything is built in concrete, even the decorations, using the same molds everywhere. In comparison: in the Angkor temples for example, none of the Apsaras and Devatas are identical.
This elegance of shapes is also present in South-East Asia’s nature, … but that’s for next time.
Or 4, if you include the small dog, though his is a simple one: he sleeps most of the day, barks most of the night.
As a kid, we tried to catch smoke. Later we became creative.
Looking in a mirror offers the reflection of an unexpected surprise.
I first thought calling this post ‘Change’, but when looking back, I realize most of my life I’ve been (and still am) in a state of transit from one change to another. It’s not different when it comes to photography.
So this is an informative post about changes in a process of transit; just so you know.
I recently moved ahead with a number of projects I had in mind since some time. And as I don’t like to mix apples and lemons, they each found a nice spot of their own.
The first one is Street with a View, dedicated to street photography, but with a subtitle. That’s where I wander the streets, and try to remember my equally wandering thoughts (on the image or on photography) while doing so. The image below will guide you there.
The second one, -Chilipeper, Mango en Zonneschijn-, is partially the result of realizing I’m loosing my native language, after living and working the past 25 years in different language spheres. It’s a collection of travel stories and - images from Asia, … written in Dutch language. Take a turn to Asia below.
There is also a change for the website you are watching now: For those of you who subscribed to receiving new posts by email, - this will stop working in 48 hours. This is because the tools to send these emails automatically can not handle multiple websites under the same account.
The alternatives to stay updated on new posts: you can use a RSS reader - the RSS feeds are in the footer of each website. Or you can follow on the FB page, on Tumblr, or on Twitter. I usually post links there to new posts from all the websites.
You can also subscribe to the (new) monthly Newsletter (what I am/have been up to, and this for all the projects combined) through the image below.
That’s it for now.
Het is natuurlijk altijd leuk om toeristische hoogtepunten met eigen ogen te aanschouwen. Persoonlijk vind ik het echter meestal tegenvallen. Wil U graag de zonsopgang over de Angkor Wat tempel in Cambodja zien? Dan moet U dat wel delen, afhankelijk van het seizoen, met 500 tot 1000 andere kijklustigen, die allemaal staan te drummen om datzelfde kiekje te nemen. Geen wonder dus dat ik er de…
One might assume I sneaked up on this car part seller in Old Delhi, praying in his shop, eyes closed.
Actually, I had been looking elsewhere when strolling by. He called after me, and asked me to photograph him. This is how he wanted to be seen.
I asked him if he wanted a print, but he was not interested, just thanked me for making his image.
I’ve always wanted to be a wizard. Not one of those evil guys all in black, just everyday practical happy magic. I’m still on the lookout for one of the fairies to propose me, which, - at the same time -, gives me ample opportunities to practice the art of street photography.
When you’ll notice the diversity and sheer number of hits when looking up the definition of street photography, you might be tempted to quit your daytime job, or whatever it is you fill your days with, to dedicate the rest of your life to a profound study of this phenomenon. Let me assure you straight on : it will be a complete waste of time, and it definitely won’t make you rich. Even worse, that is in case you decide to pick up a camera as well and go out there : you will not become the next Henri Cartier-Bresson (more on that in another post).
The reason is simple : suffice to look at dedicated websites, social media groups, etc. and 99% of what you will see are simple snapshots, no more and no less. I was subscribed to the mailing list of a street photography organization, and today’s ‘image of the day’ was of a guy in his underpants wearing a cowboy hat walking on a street in New York. It may be a curious event (except for New Yorkers) but that image didn’t even contain the smallest bit of personality a street photograph should have. I unsubscribed. And meanwhile, the professional bloggers relentlessly keep you serving yesterday’s warmed up fast-food.
The most restrictive definition can be found in an article by Blake Andrews (you can read it here). Personally, I don’t really care one way or another. Do you? Does it matter what f-stop I used, which lens and camera, or whether I cropped the image or not? If the image captures you, makes you think, imagine, dream, feel, … then there’s probably some magic in it, captured in a frozen moment of time.
A bit of a wizard after all ;-)