This week I am proposing a personal Photo Project that costs nothing to
enter, and images from any camera are accepted. Yes, you do not need to have
an expensive camera, you do not need to know how to change depth of field,
but all you need is a keen eye.
This photo project is to record some art, and you don’t have to go to the
Louvre to find it either! However, this is some original art. In a country
where ‘copy’ art reigns supreme, there is still an adequate repository of
art ready to be recorded by any keen photographer - and that is on the side
I have written before about personal photo projects as a way to improve your
photographic techniques. Once you start to look at how you can present a
subject photographically, you are on your way to thinking like a photo pro,
and not someone who is just snapping pictures.
I was reminded of this the other day when I was going through some photos in
my collection, and there were all these bus photos. A somewhat ‘stalled’
personal project, I have to admit. Then I looked out the window and there
was this fabulous bus parked outside the Marriott, covered with hundreds of
thousands of baht in artwork. Since I always keep a camera close to me,
after 10 minutes I had what I wanted.
Actually, I have always loved Thai busses. Wonderfully painted, gaudy
bucolic beasts that roar along the highways almost blowing small vehicles
from their paths as they thunder through. I had started the small photo
project of my own, to record some of the incredible paintings on the sides
and tails of these busses. 500,000 baht busses with 10 million baht
However, if you want to begin one of these photo projects and feel free to
continue with my busses, you have to have a camera with you and ready. This
has also been one of the subjects I have covered before, calling it “Be
Prepared” (with apologies to the Boy Scouts Association), if you save some
To take these shots I used a polarizing filter to decrease reflections and
also bracketed in half stop increments over three exposures. If you miss
your bus shot, by the time you go back, it will have gone, so it is best to
cover all the bases! And it is worthwhile using the polarizer to richen up
Some of the artwork on these busses is well worth enlarging and framing. And
the end result could even be a photo display in one of the more ‘arty’
restaurants around town. Photo projects, as I have said previously, are a
good idea to stimulate your creative self, but think about then expanding
your project to include friends, relatives and acquaintances, you can pool
thoughts and techniques to improve your own results. Just cultivate your
enquiring nature and look for photo opportunities everywhere.
However, it is important that you do not let yourself be caught up in an
ethical problem while getting your shots.
Photojournalists can have a problem with morality and ethics. The following
test shows just how much stress there can be for the photographer. For
example, here is the situation: You are in London. There is chaos all around
you caused by a hurricane with severe flooding. You are a photojournalist
working for a major newspaper and you are photographing in the middle of
this epic disaster.
Suddenly, you see a man in the water. He is fighting for his life, trying
not to be taken down with the debris. You suddenly realize who it is... it
is a well known violent criminal on the run. You notice that the raging
waters are about to take him under.
You have two options:
(1)You can save the life of this man - or -
(2) You can shoot a dramatic Pulitzer Prize winning photo, documenting the
death of one of the country’s most despised, evil and powerful men!
Now the question, and give an honest answer (nobody can see you)!
Would you select high contrast color film, or just go with the classic
simplicity of black and white?