Through my eyes, passionately

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HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 16, 2016 – 12:00am


I’ve hardly written about photography, which is one of my passions. I have been taking pictures seriously since I did my first magazine cover in 1997. I did commercial work, lots of it, many years ago. But mostly, I have taken photos for the pure love of it.

I’ve often tried to write about photography but I have always felt that words are inadequate in describing pictures. The pictures must speak for themselves.These days, almost everyone has a digital camera or a mobile phone that can take decent pictures, which has made many people instant photographers with Instagram as their medium. But that is just not so.We all live in the same world and often look at the same things. We sometimes even take pictures of the same subjects.

Yet the photographer’s eye sees things differently. The subject stands out more coherently, more beautifully, and the narrative of the photo is more focused and clear. There is a compelling quality to the photos.

I believe that a photographer must have the mind of a conspiracy theorist. He must be able to see things others do not and make the “connections.” He must be able to edit and present slices of reality as coherent short stories by themselves without irrelevant, extraneous details that could distract the viewer. He must catch the narration and capture it as clearly as possible.When I started taking pictures, I was using film, like everyone else at the time. With film, you have to know the theories and rules since you can’t see an instant playback of your shots.

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‘ Starry Wintry Night’

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‘My Spirit is Stronger than Cancer’

You can only take 36 shots per roll, and even less if you are using a medium format camera. You also pay for every shot so you tend not to be trigger happy with the shutter. You need to plan your shots and hope you get some good ones on every roll. And you have to wait a few days, with bated breath, until the negatives are developed and you can finally see your work in print.

A passion is something that gives one a purpose and an explanation for why one spends so much time, effort and money on it. It also has phases that one goes through while engaging in it. There was a time when I was obsessed with shadows in my photographs. I felt that the darkness highlighted the subject, giving it more depth and character.

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These days, I don’t think too much about anything when I shoot. I am just happy looking through the lens and capturing stories that appear in their own time and place. Through the years, I’ve taken photos that I am pretty proud of. Here are some of them.

Kensho (enlightenment) around the corner

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