I generally suck at photography. My pictures are boring and bland. No matter how pricey is the camera kit, there my photos remain, on the dark shelves amongst other rejected and hurried startups that I tinker with.
I once told the Timekeeper about this “lack of photographic talent”, and he just blamed it on my overrated ADHD, a.k.a. excuse for severe “lack of attention”.
He said something like, “You can only suck at ANYTHING when you've put only your mouth into it, without your heart and mind and hands. And since you’ve only been sober since LAST YEAR, barely enough time to have your writings turn reasonable, what kind of crap were you expecting from merely 4000 digital photos?”
Then there's Annissa. A 15 years old child in the undone body of an adolescent. Practically underfed or gifted with the right genes for a catwalk. She’s also my baby cousin, the family doll and my brothers’ object of ruthless teasing.
So one day, the two of us hung out by Kuta beach, Bali, waiting for that famous sunset to occur. I brought my camera along, just in case, and on the sand. Ogling surfers and swimmers. Bad mouthing the heat and unforgiving vendors. Basically, just waiting.
And then she went for a walk. And pretty pictures just started popping in my camera’s memory card. Effortlessly, naturally and sharp pretty pictures of her.
That day we, photographer and model, learned a couple of things:
- Shoot with love. If you basically suck at photography, don’t photograph strangers. The camera’s shutter speed is NOT all that the time it takes for a relationship to build between subject and result. It takes more than that. [PS: Which is also why I think that photojournalism is one of the toughest branches of photography.]
- Shoot pretty . Who are we kidding? If you basically suck at photography, shoot pretty people, things, cars and scenes. It’s the least you can do for your audience’s eyes: Hide your lack of photographic talent with your subject’s natural gifts.
- Shoot when ripe. I guess this is where writing meets photography. That you can’t really force it out. You actually have to mule and sunburn and wait for it. So that when the time comes, you’ll be there to let it take over and grace your craft with Fairy – in this case, Annissa – Dust.
I might give photography more of its deserving attention. And if I turn out to really, really suck at it, I could always go back to garbage vomiting.