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Understanding wabi-sabi and photography

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic concept that has fascinated many Westerners who have tried to encapsulate its meaning in a neat definition. I have delved into its meaning as I learn more about Japan as I explore the country and culture in my photographs. Levels going down to the dry stone garden in Keninji, Kyoto. In Japan, the concept is well recognised, but I think Japanese people are comfortable with a more vague and ambiguous notion of what it means. The ideas and definition of wabi-sabi have changed over the centuries and continue to evolve. Literal translations are not useful, and as far as I know, you can't look the word up in the Japanese dictionary. The closest literal translation you can probably get is something like 'humble simplicity'. Based on what I have read, here are some of the key concepts that seem consistent and inform my vision of what wabi-sabi means: Impermanence - everything is in a state of continual change. Nothing remains the same. Imperfectio
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Photographing a dancer

We spent a wonderful afternoon doing a photoshoot with ballet instructor Christian Dedeene at dance school Rose De Leyn in Brugge, Belgium. I worked with Christian as he free-styled an impromptu choreographed piece for me. He was moving quickly. I worked with the available light, going with the flow. Technically it was challenging as I tried to balance keeping the ISO as low as possible against a high enough shutter speed to keep everything sharp.  I think our collaboration produced some interesting images. These images tell a story and are some of my favourites because of the gestures and intensity.  Before becoming a dance teacher, highlights of Christian's career included five years as solo and star dancer with Maurice Béjart's company.  Béjart was one of the greatest choreographers of the last century, and Christian says he learnt a vast amount from the maestro. Christian regularly performs his own choreographed pieces.  We first met, 24 years ago and recently teamed up aga

Will buying a new camera improve your photography?

Firstly, there are no shortcuts. A camera is a simple recording device. You point it at something. Click. It records what you aimed at, and that's it. Simple as it sounds, improving photography is only about improving what is happening in that rectangle, whether you're looking through the viewfinder of the most expensive camera in the world or a box brownie. All through the age of photography from the first cameras through to film and then digital cameras, beautiful images have been made. Images that have stood the test of time and are as exquisite today as they were the day they were made. Ever complained about the weight of your camera. You need a transit van rather than a camera bag to move this Hunter and Penrose camera around. Never mind slipping a Smartphone camera in your pocket. As big as two fridges Hunter and Penrose camera was carefully restored by documentary photographer, Ian Beesley, and is now displayed alongside his exhibition of photos at Salts Mill. The truth

Important notice

Notice on a ferry. This image is manipulated. The word 'anything' was replaced with the word 'anyone'.  The notice on the ferry said that passengers were forbidden from throwing ‘anything’ overboard. I rarely manipulate images, but I couldn’t resist a spot of fun in Photoshop. However, there’s also something else that I want to communicate. It’s easy to manipulate images and video. We should question everything we see and hear because dark forces are at work. People are using social media to shape public opinion. Check every story with at least two sources. Include sources with a proven record of journalistic integrity. Photographers also need to be more transparent about image manipulation (beyond the typical image enhancements). I think photographers should tell people if they have manipulated their images. Till soon, Paul Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/paul.indigo

The three questions professional photographers ask

Follow me on Instagram  @paul.indigo As photographers, we walk around seeing the world in a different way to other people. Something catches our eye and triggers our interest. We decide to lift our cameras and take a shot. A photographer with a professional approach will ask themselves several questions before lifting their camera. Three key questions I always ask myself are: What specifically in the scene caught my eye? Is it really worth photographing? How can I make a stronger image to communicate what’s important to me?  There are, of course, many other questions you ask as you make a series of decisions which lead to the final image. You work the scene. You think about how the light will change, different angles and perspectives and you keep going until you’ve revealed the essence of what you want to communicate. Once you have the first shot, you look for ways to make an even better image. You keep going through this process until you’re sure you’ve got it. Curiosi

What I learnt again about photography from Sarrusi’s hat

Sarrusi and his hat I approached him on the market at his stall because his hat caught my eye. I’m sure you can see why. At first, Sarrusi was not keen on being photographed. But we chatted. Eventually, he agreed after a bit of banter. The first portraits were quite austere and serious, and then he cracked and I got his lovely engaging smile. Patience, kindness and understanding are things every photographer should pack, along with lenses and cameras. Till soon, Paul www.indigo2photography.com

What's the difference between snapping and composing

81 Bo Kaap What is the difference between a random snap and a careful photographic composition? The answer may not appear obvious at a glance. Uncovering the joy of carefully crafted photography requires effort. The viewer must engage with the image. Sadly, too often in our hyper-speed online and social media world, images are swiped past in a split second. The carefully crafted image loses out but so does the viewer, missing the joyful discoveries that await someone who takes the time to really read an image. Today, image consumption is akin to flying over the grand canyon in a jet at the speed of sound. If you really want to enjoy the view you've got to sit on the canyon rim for an hour and watch the sun go down. I'll try to illustrate why 81 Bo Kaap is not a random snap. The first reason is something the viewer will not know. The photographer, me in this case, pre-visualised the image. I didn't just lift the camera and press the shutter button. Walking toward these l