Back Again (to recap)

It is now 7 weeks since I returned to the blogosphere. I had been gone for 5 years.

ANy FIdelity will do started in 2006. Five years of photo-blogging went by until shortly before the Great Tohoku Earthquake, when it stopped.

It was the end of winter 2011, and blogging did not seem to be working for me.

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While I had some  minor success with a post about a natural attraction close to Osaka (Akame 48 waterfalls), it seemed that other posts fetched little, if any, interest or engagement–aside from what was given by my supportive family and a handful of friends.

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This was discouraging, especially because some posts took a great effort to complete, like the mammoth 2010 entry Chasing Fuji, which was about a multi-day trek offering stunning views of Japan’s iconic mountain. (This was one of several hiking posts, the result of synthesizing my photography and hiking interests).

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Enthusiasm waned, and it finally ended with the last post on 27 February 2011; the subject was a short snow hike in the mountains near Kyoto.

Over the following years I occasionally mulled over returning to blogging. The main reason I did not was because I felt that it would require tremendous work just to catch up with all the photos I had taken since leaving–there would be heaps of pages to make of all my travels (England, Spain, France, Italy, Thailand, Australia, Dubai, Taiwan…), not to mention the photos taken here in Japan, from hiking trips, street photography, outings to local sightseeing spots, etc.

Nonetheless, while I continued taking pictures, I found less time to process them meaningfully due to several things that were going on in my life.

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But along with these ‘distractions’ came a growing realization that time was flying by and that–seriously, now–impermanence (or rather, the need to embrace it) was becoming more and more relevant (I won’t get into why).

Essentially, it seemed pointless to do any photography at all if I was not going to keep it for sharing or posterity, even if it was just for a select few–like family and close friends.

With these points in mind, and some welcome free time during the spring break, I decided that restarting the blog was the best answer to both giving my photography new meaning and leaving a footprint, however small.

Thus, seven weeks ago, I started the task of organizing all the photos that had piled up. The result of this housekeeping was some ‘retro-posting’ (my term for filling up empty years by post-dating entries, like the 2012 trip to France).

Then after putting up several posts (e.g., one about a kimono-clad woman in Kyoto, another featuring street photography in Firenze and yet another one about Sueleymaniye mosque in Istanbul), I was amazed to realize that WordPress had changed so much–it was a far more rewarding and motivating experience than before.

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In particular, there was a familiar, but restrained, social-networking quality about it.

In addition, I happened to discover several interesting blogs. The first few were:

• Amant de Fleur
Edge of Humanity
Hong Kong Lucida
• Lemanshots
• Lize Bard
• Malate
Photolicious
• Raw Streets
• Simonet
• Through Open Lens

They got me started and served to inspire me. Also, there were rewarding interactions with bloggers such as Constantino, Iambadphotographer, KokoTam, Timothy and Yuri.

All of these things made for an interesting, thriving, and engaged community that seemed very inviting to anyone who wanted to share the experience. Things were different.

So it was an exciting new world of blogging that I had come back to.

Coinciding with this return were trips to the United Arab Emirates and Greece. I felt there was now extra meaning and purpose to take pictures, and I focused on street and minimal photography there.

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The experience led me to appreciate the value of sharing in a dynamic and instant way while engaging with people all over the planet.

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In these last seven weeks approximately 400 photographs in more than a hundred posts have been put up. The blog gained more than 70 followers (there were none before) and I currently follow 120 blogs. Happy days.

There is great inspiration to be had from some WordPress blogs–it can be a thrill going through the Reader to see what people are doing, thinking, and photographing.

I look forward to continuing to discover more blogs while working on my own.

So, a huge thanks to all for helping make my return very rewarding and fun thus far.

***

To wrap up, below are twelve preferred pictures which were shot and posted in the past 7 weeks. Each one has a personal connection, but I hope they work for viewers on a surface level, too. Care to ask for the story behind one or choose the one you like most? (Click on any photo to open the gallery).

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20 thoughts on “Back Again (to recap)

  1. Fantastic post and one of the best ive read this week. Wonderful story and can totaly relate as I picked up blogging last summer after couple of years of abssense. Glad you came back so I discover your work. The images are great in this one. My fav is probably Walking away or This.
    Thank you also for the mention.

    • Warm thanks and you’re welcome. It’s great to have met you through WP. For ‘Walk *that way*’ (title error is my mistake) I was busy composing it as a static image because I liked the strong shadows contrasting with all the sunlit lines. Then this man walked into the image and I thought just at the point I caught him would be best. I titled it ‘Walk that Way’ because it was nicely similar yet different to an earlier shot I titled ‘Walk this Way.’ Very soon I will post another one called ‘Walk Away’ as a third one to compare both with. As for ‘This’ it was one of my first shots on my second return to Dubai after my first SP walkabout, during which I was really excited to be ‘in the zone’. The guy in yellow was massive, and the parasol he was holding was just as incongruous as his yellow robe and height (which I tried to accent by coming close and cropping in camera). I’m guessing he had a camera he wanted to pawn or sell at the shop. The two men’s attention were fixated on whatever it was. The whole scene blew my mind. I called it ‘This’ because it’s part of a photo series which had three photos each with a different focus of attention, and titled “Me, You, This”.

  2. Thank you for mentioning my blog, Mr. Angel! I love all your photography, esp the street photography one. I mentioned in my blog before that i am not good at taking pictures of people since im having hard time where to put the subject. In your case, I think you are very good at it ☺ pls don’t stop sharing you wonderful pictures, Mr. Denis. Im looking forward for more! Have a great weekend! And btw my faves are Walk that way and No. 5

    • Hello. Thank you for your comment. I am glad that I can pass on the inspiration I have received from others. Good luck, I look forward to seeing your blog. (By the way, sorry for my late reply; I’ve only just noticed your comment in my spam box, and I’ve now just okayed it). Regards.

  3. Thanks for this, Angel. This is a wonderfully written post! I am very glad you found some sense of purpose in blogging, as you share world’s beauty with the rest of us! I find this blogging thing as a path to self expression and self discovery. There’s a lot of experimentation and uncertainty when a post comes out, there’s a bit of risk, nothing is set on stone. That’s in itself enticing and hopefully we can get something in return. If nothing else, you make the world a little more joyful with your images, at the very least. I find all your images in this set very appealing and

  4. (Continuation) perhaps the one that intrigue me the most is “Seeing in red” and would like to know the story behind it. I have learned a lot from your minimalist approach to photography and the sense of opportunity that you always try to capture.

    • Thanks very much, Constantino. I really appreciate your comment. It’s very true about this uncertainty and risk when blogging, as well as self-discovery. It’s quite an interesting process. As for taking pictures of this (often but not always) beautiful world around us, it really is fascinating how each of use can have a unique way of looking at things, one that we might call normal but others see as different. I am just shooting what I see. Another person may have shot the scene in a completely different way, and it is that difference which intrigues me. Often on other blogs I find photos that are wonderfully different than what I would have made and have an allure I cannot find in my own. Isn’t that fascinating. Ultimately, I am pleased if I can make my own contribution to the ‘pool’ in this regard, so thanks again. I should point out that I use the term ‘minimal’ very loosely (in the broad sense, as opposed to the strict–or some would argue, the correct–meaning of the term).

    • As for ‘Seeing Red’, here is the story (and I myself like to hear stories behind pictures). I was at a port-side cafe on the island of Aegina and liked the vibrant, matching reds in both the façade of the café as well the servant’s shirt. Instinctively I had my camera ready to see what I could do, but I knew that merely matching colours between two subjects was not enough. Nonetheless, my interest was piqued and I sensed the potential. I got ready by placing my camera (a compact four-thirds with a 9mm fisheye lens) on the table, positioning it as best I could without looking through the EVF, and finger on the shutter release (i.e., rather slyly). I pressed it a dozen times but knew there wouldn’t be much of a story. Then the potential exploded in front of me as I saw a customer–with red hair, red shoes, and a red pullover wrapped around her waist–walk into the café. I knew then what I wanted: her exit, and then I would have three subjects (a magical number) with the red motif. I waited for her to come back out and shot about five frames as she exited. Working in my favour was that the server was looking in her direction and seemed to have a bemused look about him, as if he was surprised with her colours matching, and as my title for the photo hints at. Now I should point out that on many occasions one might see potential in a scene and nothing will come of it. This is definitely the default result. However, in this case it worked. More than anything, I think this story just illustrates that for street photography it is as much a numbers game (shoot as much as you can) as it is a bit of tech prep, recognizing potential, and most importantly, anticipation (the shot I wanted was the woman’s stride right over the threshold). Of course, a bit of luck didn’t hurt either…! Un abrazo, mi amigo.

      • Excellent story! Yes, there is luck, but you have to bring yourself to a situation where luck can actually helps you. And you did that wonderfully. Thanks so much for sharing! Un gran abrazo de vuelta!

  5. Well written, well said. Write for yourself, share photos like you share love, do not expect too much in return, but those who find meaning in them will really appreciate your effort. My favorite is fruit vendor and while I am sure you have a great story, I really like to construct my own stories when I look at the photo that interests me and your photo is great story.

    • Cheers, and thank you. In just a few sentences you managed to express what I was trying to convey but didn’t properly. Namely, this photo-blogging business should be all about giving and not expecting much in return. You also touched on something that has been baffling me recently, and that is whether one should accompany a photo with 1) a title, 2) a caption, 3) contextual story as background into (in rare cases), or 4) nothing at all. As you say, constructing a story based on one’s interpretation of a naked picture is certainly valid. On the same vein, adding a title or caption may make the photo somewhat contrived. Yet, a little bit of information, such as a title or caption may help guide the viewer to understand what the photographer wants to say, if anything, or understand what’s going on, lest the meaning/story is missed. I have done all four options (incidentally, Fruit Vendor was option 3 here–not sure if you read it). It’s unclear to me which option is the way to go; that is if I should try to be consistent with my photo entries. I will continue to vary amongst these options in future posts. In fact, a blog entry on this question could be very interesting and relevant. Your blog posts are fantastic; perhaps you could do one on this, too. Thanks again for your time here.

  6. I was already enjoying reading this so imagine how pleasently surprised I was to spot my name. I cannot wait to post my Abu Dhabi photos and get your thoughts on them! Again, this made for very good reading and encompassed so many thoughts I have been having re. blogging lately.

  7. […] It was a thrill to visit the Acropolis Museum in Athens. Not only could I come come face to face with artifacts which were thousands of years old and central to western civilization. I also sought pictures contrasting these objects with museum visitors. The best I could manage was this one of a young student, evidently part of a school field trip to the museum, with pencil and notepaper in hand while examining one of the main exhibits of relief sculpture. I chose this picture to accompany my post about returning to blogging after an absence of six years. See Back Again: To Recap. […]

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