霞女之旅

Xia's Journey

i Like i Light

on April 1, 2012

Two years back, I went by to shoot the first I Light festival at Marina Bay. It was then held from 15 October to 7 November in 2010. The festival showcased 25 dynamic and innovative light art installations along the 3.5km waterfront promenade. I’m not too sure if I was famished back then or that I was too tired after work, the installations did not seemed very interesting. I covered a few of the installations in one night and that was it… I never went back again…

Since I did not have a pleasant experience in the 2010 I Light festival, I was quite sceptical when it came to the 2012 I Light festival. However, since there was so much publicity and marketing to it and that one of my good friends was one of their official bloggers, I decided to go by to have a look too…  I wanted to prove it wrong by proving myself right. I was wrong… It proved me wrong.

This year, the festival returned… with a bigger bang with lots of PR, publicity and marketing. The festival was held from 9 March to 1 April 2012. Themed “Light Meets Asia”, the festival had 31 innovative and environmentally sustainable light art installations, with works from artists in and around Asia. Unlike 2010, I Light 2012 had an array of complementary programmes and activities, night carnivals, outdoor performances, guided tours, educational talks and workshops – all to ensure that there was something for everyone.

I did my first I Light shoot on the 10 March, Sat. On that same morning, I attended Mr Low Soon Leong’s first macro class. In that very short 3 hours session, he made us think out-of-the-box and refrain us from taking any ‘direct shots’. He wanted us to ‘look, think and conceptualise’ before we even press the shutter. When I got to the I Light festival, I tried as much to apply these rules to the installations. Most of the installations were static and there was nothing very ‘interesting’ to the installations. However, as I looked harder and thought hard enough, I began to see angles that I never saw… Below are four of the pics which I personally liked very much and in which I did a little bit more thinking than I normally did.

I took tons of shots at ‘Light of the Merlion’, but as I recalled Mr Low’s lesson on NOT taking direct shots, I tried hard to find a framing for the coloured Merlion.

I shot from the right, the left, the bottom, from far, from near etc. As I was leaving for the next installation, I turned back to see if I had left any of my items lying around. And then, I saw the Merlion in the ‘ONE’, and decided to frame it in the ONE.

Thereafter, at the judging session, I saw numerous pictures of the same framing too… Haahaa… So, it wasn’t that much of a unique angle as much as I had thought it was…

When I got to the ‘Key Frames’, everyone was shooting from the seating gallery and having the ‘Key Frames’ against Marina Bay Sands as backdrop.

It was easily a direct shot and anyone, with any camera could have done so.

I walked around the ‘Key Frames’ structure and saw the Singapore Flyer.

I decided to frame it IN the Singapore Flyer.

Titled; Circle of Life, we are like these stick figurines, whether young or old, we are entrapped in this Circle of Life; life and death, good health or sickness.

I did most of the shoots on my own.

At one of my shoots, I came across this group of young and happy tourists posing in front of ‘Bibigloo’ and decided to do a shot too.

As I awaits Cupid arrow, may LOVE be in the eyes of the beholder… : )

Before I made my way down to shoot the ‘Garden of Light’, I had wanted to have two frames on the Helix bridge to frame the Art Science Museum.

When I arrived, I realised that it was technically not very possible.

Hence, I decided to set it on long shutter to get the light trails from the boat to frame the Museum. I could not see any other ‘more interesting’ angles… I guess I was not looking hard enough!

The photo competition ended on the 27 March, and judging session was set on 28 March at SAFRA Mt Faber. Being the busy-body as I always was, I wanted to go by to have a look at all the other submissions and to learn from them.

During the judging session, we went through almost 400 pictures from the Student Category and about 1400 pictures in the Open category. We saw pictures after pictures…. Many were ‘direct shots’. Even those with long exposure, fish eyed were no saving grace, until I saw the below two pictures.

Photograph published with permission from author.

When I first saw the ‘Lotus on Lotus’ framing, I was thinking to myself…

“Wow.. This is interesting…”

Everyone had a direct shot of the Lotus from across the river, from the Helix bridge etc, but no-one actually went nearer to shoot the lotuses at the bottom of the Lotus to have it frame the bigger Lotus.

It was such a simple but yet profound shot.

This photographer has great eye for details and was able to look at subjects from all angles.

What I did not know was that, this photographer was actually a good photo pal of mine – Ken! Haahaa… : )

Photograph published with permission from author.

When the photo on the left pop up for scoring, I only had three seconds to view it. At that instant, I knew, “This is it… This is the picture that will stand out.”

This picture was the only picture in the 1800 pictures that had this angle!

Everyone had a direct shot of “After Light”, but no-one did a Fish Eye of the installation with the back buildings framing up the entire picture.

The photographer had envisioned the picture and had aptly utilised the Fish Eye effect into the shot. That was exactly what Mr Low wanted to impart; “Look, Think, Conceptualise”.

When I learnt that this picture which won the first prize in the I Light Photo Competition was shot by my photo pal, Ken, I was really really happy and proud of him. It was indeed a well-deserved award.

During the judging session, we screened through 1800 pictures in 3 hours. We had on average three seconds per picture. Why could we recall some, and not the others? What set one apart from another? Why did some commanded a 10 points whilst some had a 3? I was once again reminded by an article that I wrote for HWM Magazine in Jan 2011.

In my last paragraph, I quoted David Bailey, an English photographer; “It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter because you can invent things. But in photography, everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary.”

Now that I began to think a little harder, I’ve realized that it is so true! I have yet to master the skill of seeing the extraordinary… But I will try and keep trying… I hope I’ll get there someday… I do not know when though…. Hahaa… ; )

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