Another fun aspect of attending the photography workshop that I attended in Bali is that the photographer leading the group, Jord Hammond, is fascinated with photographing people doing interesting work in unique settings. And he built this fascination into parts of the workshop. I'll be honest, this isn't something I had ever sought out before, but it became a little bit addicting by the end of the workshop. In this photo we went to a quarry and photographed men cutting down massive chunks of stone into smaller, more useful sizes. Debris and dust were in the air constantly, and the saws were almost unbearably loud; this definitely appeared to be an extremely tedious and dangerous job, especially without the use of even basic protective gear. Yet the men just kept on working tirelessly as we photographed the scene. A reminder of the intense service to society that is often done far behind the scenes.
"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
There's an aspect to photography that I really love, and that's that it allows me to test out basically any creative idea I have. For example, if I see something that I think might make a nice photo, but I'm not entirely sure, all I have to do is capture the moment, bring it up on my laptop and then decide whether it's worth editing at that point. If it's worth editing, and if I like the final result, I can share the photo with others or simply keep it to myself. If I don't like the photo, I can effortlessly push it out of my mind because I know I gave it a try. Either way, I love that I'm able to test the idea and proceed accordingly. It's clean and it's simple. I often wish more aspects of life could be tested so easily.
"I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed."
The people. When I'm asked what was the most memorable part of my adventures in Asia, the first thing that always comes to mind is the people. Until visiting Asia, I had never experienced cultures as warm, gentle and respectful as those I encountered while in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. And hands down my favorite part was the respectful bow that can be exchanged as a greeting, as a goodbye and as a thank you. It's just bringing your hands to prayer and doing a subtle bend at the waist. Even to absolute strangers. I found it to be an incredibly warming gesture and, in my opinion, is a beautiful example of the hearts and souls of the people and of the culture.
"A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people."
After shooting the sunrise one morning in Bali, we noticed a nearby temple with some people milling about. We figured we'd stop by and ask permission to take photos of them and the temple. What we initially thought was a few people turned out to be a group of 20 or 30 men preparing for a ceremony. They graciously welcomed us inside and allowed us to photograph their multiple preparations. This man, while taking a break to enjoy a cigarette, had positioned himself in this intense stream of morning light. He kept himself partially in the shadow so the sun wouldn't shine directly into his eyes. And as you can see, it made for a pretty cool image. I find myself seeking duality in my photographs whenever possible; light and dark, clear and blurry, warm and cool, stuff like that. And this scene naturally gave me exactly what I wanted.
"Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography."