Dicuss photography.

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Photography Singapore : One Thread

Dear folks,

Ever wondered why photographers, especially amateurs, are more interested in discussing about their equipment than photography itself?

I came across a thread in another asian photo forum and am sad that the local mentality judges professionalism by the amount, size, cost and brand of equipment you carry.

Also, some "knowledgeable armchair" amateurs photographers are quick to condemn others, others who do not share their views/likings or who are less informed.

Wondered if this is asian mentality or universal in nature. Like to hear what all you guys out there think.

-- Paul Chuah (the_photo_workshop@Yahoo.com), July 15, 1999


How many photographers really surf the net and participate in forums and discussions? I must say the proportion is very small and is limited mostly to the younger ones. Take a look at some of the local forums and you can see that most are very native and inexperienced. They are not a good representative of the local photographers community.Go to a real photography club or event and you'll get to see more real photographers.
That aside, equipments does form the first impression. Only the more experienced, though not necessary professional or take good pictures, would dig in their pocket to buy expensive and large equipments. At least they have been long enough in the circles to know what are the expensive items.

-- Wee Keng Hor (weekh@singnet.com.sg), July 16, 1999.

Are you guys talking about the forum at www.asiaphoto.com? That is the only active forum that I know of in Asia.

Actually, even in real life, you also see photographers wowing at the big expensive cameras that other photographers carry. Look at those leica owners, they are more like camera collectors than photographers.

I know which guy you are talking about in that forum. Daniel loh and Adam seow? They are quick to throw doubts and questions at others to show off. Just ignore them.

-- rick (ricksonsoh@yawmail.com), July 18, 1999.

Paul, I tend to agree with you and can only comment that perhaps the photography community is still (relatively speaking) in its infant stage (as is Singapore generally). That said, there are many things to look forward to as Singapore progresses from being merely materially minded.

I am glad to see that we have people like you initiating topics like this but sad to see so few threads. If this were posted in America for example, we probably would have seen a deluge of threads. Still we have to start somewhere.

I am really an amature but very interested photographer and would like to see more of such discussions.

I know there are many professional (even foreign) photographers in Singapore but I see so few participating in such discussions. Perhaps some contribution from them could liven things up?

-- Benjamin Yap (ben@mostly.com), July 23, 1999.

(( I know there are many professional (even foreign) photographers in Singapore but I see so few participating in such discussions. Perhaps some contribution from them could liven things up? ))
These people are out there taking photos rather than surfing the net.

-- Wee Keng Hor (kenghor@hotmail.com), July 24, 1999.

You havea point there!

Suppose that means that us wannabes have to settle with second best!!

-- Benjamin Yap (ben@mostly.com), July 24, 1999.

Thanks to you guys for the response, little it may be but at least I view that there is still hope and sanity around in this land of vainity and materialism.

The philosophical viewpoints of discussion is often ignored, not only in photography. I thought it would attract a better and wider audience by having it on the internet. But sadly, like what Ben said, you only find heaty and healthy exchanges elsewhere.

Ben, I wholeheartedly agree that the local mentality has not come of age. Good discussions are hard to come by not only in this little photo community but also from what I observed, other local forum pages. It's either edgy or superficial. Good fellows are either busy with their work or are digitally disadvantaged or maybe have resigned to the fact that they have so few persons they could share with.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not into exclusiveness or snobbery. I'm talking about sincerity and being down to earth, searching and discovering the thoughts of others as they go about with this hobby, photography.

Once again, thanks. Hope to hear from the others.

-- Paul Chuah (the_photo_workshop@Yahoo.com), July 25, 1999.

Aiyah Paul,

you don't like me lah, the whole whole knows it already.

It's not about equipment and it is not about snobbishness. It is what it takes to be an 'Obuchi'.



-- daniel loh (loh_daniel@hotmail.com), July 25, 1999.

Sorry, the last line shout read: 'It is about what it takes to be an 'Obuchi'.'


-- daniel loh (loh_daniel@hotmail.com), July 25, 1999.

Above is a fine example of what I was saying. Posters with hidden agendas.

Keng Hor, beware, he has migrated here to destroy your forum page.

-- Paul Chuah (the_photo_workshop@Yahoo.com), July 26, 1999.

Hi passionate photographers,

There are few photographers who want to spend time to discuss about photography in cyberspace. Some of us may have the good intention of sharing and exchanging our knowledge but many of us who had been in the industry know too well regarding the local photographic culture.

As a young society we can try to overlook some of the creative moods of our enthusiatic participants and say....oh, we all have gone through it this way.....and....in fact it is part of growing up. We had to allow lots of tolerance; or is......intolerance a better solution?

We should seek out those who are sincere to participate and willing to talk about photography using cyberspace. We should not deny those who lack the experiences or the required knowledge. We all had to go to kindergarten before going to Primary One isn't it?

Allow them to make some mistakes and proofs of their difference in personality and character. Rome was never built in a day. So long as there are sincere takers and participants we just have to practice tolerance at all levels. Killing them is an act of inmaturity. We are like sheeps without a shepherd. Can we find the shepherd to lead us in our discussion? Seek and we will find. There are some out there at the various local forums:

1) http://forum.s-one.net.sg/forum/288/start.cgi

2) www.asiaphoto.com/discuss

3) www.lectureonline.com/patricklee

4) www.greenspun.com/bboard/

Lets us be the shepherds....can't we?

Write the name of someone whom you greatly admire and Write one thing that you admire most about that friend.

Success or failure to find people willing to discuss about photography depends a lot on our attitudes! Our attitudes do make the difference in leading others. Our attitudes are our most important assets.

"Our attitudes determine what we see and how we handle our feelings. These two factors greatly determine our success in seeking what we want".

I strongly belief there are people out there who are willing to discuss about photography just like you and me. Let our beliefs influence our attitudes. We welcome all contributing participants to come forward with sincerity.

-- Patrick Lee (photonet@singnet.com.sg), December 09, 1999.

I would like to humbly add a few comments on this passionate and interesting commotion. I would no doubt agree that most Singapore "photographers" are actually camera collectors who derive more pleasure from comparing Leica collections and clicking their 50 yr old shutters aimlessly. I like to compare them to another social circle - audiophiles. They spend more timing buying and tweaking their amps and cables then actually appreciating Bach's 'Air' or Miles Davis'. Likewise, the same can be said about mountain bikers (mostly young chaps in this case). Fitting and retrofitting their forks and gear trains to prepare themselves for the race that will never happen.

See any similarity? To be more explict, its simply boys with big toys. It happens everywhere, with whatever 'toys'. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to offend anyone. Afterall, I admit to being somewhat of a 'boy with big toy'. Computers and cameras take my fancy although they're now more of a professional money making tool. Bikes have started their bite also...

If you compare aestatic dicussions in art vs photography, the case is rather unique. This is strictly my opinion so no offense implied. Photography is relatively young and is also relatively 'effortless' in its ability to record a recognisable image as compared to painting. Take any shitty camera and click: anyone can still tell its a picture of a red girl with a red umbrella walking down a row of trees. 50 years later someone does the same thing and its still recognisable. (sounds familiar?) Try that with paints and charcoals. At best, people will comment that you have artistic flair and have made inroads into the 'impressionists' or 'cubisim'. Bottomline: most people can't even make a dead cat look dead with a pen and a brush (I can't, I admit...)

When cameras came, marketers and businessmen realised they have in their hands a tool that allows any dim wit to create a recognisable picture (I didn't say good). In the aim of making money, they started to advertise and promote that their cameras allow you to create professional looking pictures easily. Notice camera ads of the 1980s and today's don't look that much different? People started buying them and some people got hooked by the mechanics of the magical black box and discussions on how different brands and features can churn out better 'professional looking' pictures.

Art had the impressionists, cubisim, surrealists, etc. Photography had well, glass plate negs to halide based film to digital CCDs. All that happened in just under a century and all that was technical. Tsk tsk. Photography had only begun to be known as an art form in the last 50 years or so and seriously so in the western world only in the last 20 years. Singapore - 5 years? Its still seen more as any expensive tool thats capable of making massive amounts of identical prints. The Americans have photography as an art subject in their junior school years and know about the pain, pleasure and unqiue qualities that involve a print from the darkroom. Sinaporean's average impression of photos are 30c 3R prints and '1 hour okay already hah!'

I had a little photography exhibition a few years ago and expressions and conversations more or less confirmed my theory. People are more willing to spend $800 on some branded leather bag than something artistic to appreciate in the house (and hopefully in value.)

Back to the topic of discussion, I would gladly like to join in a healthy dicussion chain on how to promote photography as an art form in Sing

-- Jimmy Fok (bananas@singnet.com.sg), December 09, 1999.

finding this forum is a godsend. thanx u guys. i'm 20, male, and realli in the beginning stage of hopefully a long life in this art called photography. i for one am not rich, and own a good camera(by my standards), a minolta 404 si.i have a zoom 35-70. being new, the onli equipment i have are those and my tripod. i like to carry lite. modest i noe, and sometimes when i read ur entries, i feel kinda over-awed by the amount of equipment that i have to buy in order to be on the same talking wavelength as you guys. no doubt, this is an expensive hobby, and i can see myself burning a few holes in my already small pocket. by the way, i'm still in NS and trying my best whenever i have time to improve my portfolio. just in case in the future i decided to make career switch . . anyway, fortunately u guys brought up this matter and i can say that i am encouraged by the feedback given. this camera has served me well, and ive taken wonderful photos w it. exposing these kind of discussions to the amateurs and pros outside the constraints of photo-clubs and into the "streets" will greatly improve te photo-taking culture in singapore which i can see that u guys really want to see change for the better. i mean i would to wouldn't i? i'm still 20. would be a perfect time for the culture to ripen up.

-- mohd noor hishamuddin (hisham@postmark.net), July 12, 2000.

i think that is not important, most of the time is, you feel the sactisfaction from the photos taken from your camera, and thats all. Of course, when you get to share your results with fellow 'photo- friends' as while. I think i would not prefer to share opinions with such people that talks too much about as mentioned above subjects. i guess, can be a bit boring because photograhpy is about art in a form of 'Realism', not as in 'posers'. i am very interested to share my opinions as in the photographer's views, style, technics, character, experiences...etc. I guess i am more interested for the results than the equipments because afterall the its the photographer that counts.

-- ric (ae1c1976@yahoo.com), November 06, 2000.

More on just equipment alone

The camera manufacturers knew that thousands out there are keen to own the latest techno high end stuff and there isn't any possibility that there is no buyer for the latest camera model that will be released every year.

Looking back one wonders why folks who have spent more than two decades in photography just keep their expensive lenses and gear and go for a small little box with a laser beam hole instead.

Perhaps doing photography should be more fun with less stress once you have practiced the art all along in mole hills. A different shade with a different eye and a little bit of scany taste.

Warmest regards to all photographers,

Patrick Lee ippl@pacific.net.sg

-- Patrick Lee (ippl@pacific.net.sg), October 12, 2001.

Currently there is one digital photo forum, have you pay a visit?


The photography folks of all standards are beginning to enjoy their chosen hobby or profession. It takes time to know how to learn from the resources of the Internet.

-- Wen Li (wenli@hotpop.com), April 03, 2004.

Here is an interesting forum you folks can have a go at:


Photos of the old Singapore and a good thing to see is "My Wish List" which got out all the banal talks. More serious folks on subjects like creativity and philosophy of photography. Take a look.

-- Russelman (russelman@fastmail.fm), June 29, 2004.

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