Monday, June 16, 2008

Framed Thoughts: Why I Shoot Worthless Pictures

Text and Photos By Raneil Antonio Ibay

A fellow photographer once told me that it’s been quite a while since he’s shot “walang kwenta” or “worthless” pictures. By this he means shooting for a camera club, photo contests or just walking around with your camera on hand, shooting just about anything that captures your fancy. An old saying comes to mind, “Birds of the same feather, flock together”. This had me thinking, “Am I in a group of “mga walang kwenta?” (“Am I in a group of worthless photographers?”) Or “Is my photography walang kwenta?” (“Is my photography worthless?”).

Come to think of it, I do have a lot of those pictures. Mayanna leaves on a garden, shanties along Pasig river, a beached boat on a low tide shore and of course, the eternally shot sunset. All seemingly worthless I admit. Maybe worthless to another person or worse to another photographer. Some of them I entered in photo contests. Some won, most didn’t. Some didn’t even make it to the top 50. Do I consider the ones that didn’t win as “worthless”? As something better suited to be ripped apart and thrown into the fire to produce heat and thus have some semblance of worth? Or do I consider the ones that did win as “priceless”? As something to be framed, exhibited at a gallery and to be sold at an astonishingly absurd price? I don’t know if there’s any photographer out there not secretly dreaming of this scene. Maybe the ones that did win deserve to be framed at least. But for the ones that didn’t win, I don’t think they deserve to be thrown to the fiery depths of photography hell.

One thing they all did make me is, happy. Happy to have captured these moments and preserved them. Happy to have shared it with a group of like-minded people during club meetings or on online galleries. Happy to come home from an out-of-town adventure with them. Happy to just be there walking, camera in hand snapping away at these worthless scenes.

After looking at my pictures in these terms, I now don’t see them as “walang kwenta” or “worthless”. I had fun shooting them, I was in my element, I was having an adventure.

So will I still shoot worthless pictures? You can bet your Spongebob underpants that I still will. And speaking of which, the sign on the road says we’re near Calatagan already. It’s time to finish this article and start shooting some “worthless pictures”.

No comments: