Last Saturday Johannesburg’s Chinese community held its New Year celebrations at a local shopping centre and the camera club to which I belong suggested there may be a number of good photographic opportunities.
Everyone and his brother was there, all armed with top-of-the-line digital cameras and everyone scrambled to get a position near the stage, so they could photograph the kung fu demonstrations or stick a camera in the face of the lion dancers.
I felt as though I had stepped back in time to the bun-fights I had years ago with hordes of other press photographers as we all jostled and shoved to get the same picture.
And that’s exactly what was happening - everyone was shooting basically the same image. It is an aspect of camera clubs I dislike. Camera club judges place emphasis on technical excellence but largely ignore creativity and uniqueness. I have no doubt, at the next club meeting, ten different people will present exactly the same shot and, so long as it is properly exposed, in focus and the main subject is located on one of the intersecting thirds in the image, it will score gold.
I wanted to do something different and the Chinese celebrations, colourful as they were, just did not do it for me. The light was harsh, contrasty and unattractive. So, after I’d had my fill of kids kicking and punching pre-broken wooden planks, I wandered off to see what else I could find.
I ended up with three images I liked. For me, they capture critical moments and tell a story.
Let me know if you agree.