Photography: Art, But Not Really

So the other day I was talking to one of my friends about cameras. He had just upgraded from his Samsung Galaxy S9 phone to a 1+ phone. He boasted about how fabulous the camera is on this new model of phone. He told me his photography skills were about to improve ten-fold.

I laughed openly.

I told him the camera doesn’t decide how good you are at photography. He countered my argument by saying that with a good camera, anything captured can be made to look fabulous.

We continued to discuss this. It got me thinking about whether photography is even a valid art form. My interest in photography began back when I was in school. A couple of my science teachers ran a photography club and taught some of us the techniques and practice of being a good photographer. They thought I was pretty good. My parents thought I was pretty good. So I went out and bought myself a DSLR.

My DSLR is super amateur level. I’ve been using the same 2 lenses that came free with the camera 6 years ago. But I still put up some decent photos.

But honestly, I know I’m not very good. I don’t have what I perceive to be good photography skills. For example, my idea of angles is pretty amateur. I’ve seen lots of people take photos from angles I wouldn’t have thought of looking in. I also don’t care much about lighting. I need my subject to be visible with as much detail as possible. But I’ve seen people toggle with lighting for ages before even taking a picture.

But I take photos and people tell me they are good. But am I just lucky?

When I go on instagram, the people I follow usually put up pretty mundane photos. But every so often, some of them will put up something that makes me go “Oooh”. Does that make them “good” at photography? Or does it just make them lucky to have been in the right place and the right time with their camera lined up accurately enough to capture something fantastic?

A few people I know have opened their own photography “companies”. Not one of them is super impressive to me. They deal a lot in portrait photography of people they know. I can’t say they’re very good. Even edited, none of them made me go “ooh”. I have a sneaking suspicion that these people were also told by their family/friends that they’re super good at photography and so they should have their own company. Or in the case of one of my friends, he has all the camera tech possible and just went for it. Needless to say, he didn’t get very far.

One of the people I know who does professional real estate photography, had trouble capturing some people in good lighting at a house party. But that’s not to say that his real estate photos are bad…

I think landscape photography and wildlife photography, and to a certain extent, portrait photography requires a whole lot of luck. The landscape never changes. But at that point when You visit the landscape (sunset/sunrise/dry/raining) changes how your photo will look. Same with wildlife photography (is the animal moving/sleeping/positioned correctly, etc). When I see the Natural Geographic photo competition winners who have captured a bird flying or a herd of animals running, yes you need a good camera and a good position, but you didn’t ask those animals to charge into your frame to capture. That was all them. Portrait photography requires luck because even though you can have models, capturing that exact expression you want requires some luck.

Macro photography is probably a bit different. It requires a lot more thought and skill. You need to see the special in the mundane and go close enough to see it and draw attention to it. That is one field of photography that I truly think needs skill. Because you can’t just zoom into anything and expect it to look good or convey a message you want it to.

So on the whole, is photography an art form? Or can any idiot with a good camera capture something stunning from time to time?

I think it’s a mixture of both.

I think you can’t take good photos without some luck. And I think anybody can be a photographer. But skill in photography is a very specialised subject. But I still think it has very little to do with what kind of camera you have.

Interesting topic. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Gen Med Is Over

Today was the end of my general medicine house officer rotation! 

Stayed late to seal the deal ofcourse.

And I even did some therapeutic baking to finish it off.

Poifect chocolate cupcakes. Well I learnt quite a bit of medicine I suppose. And I was busy. 

But my consultant told me I did a great job this rotation and my medical student said I’ve been very helpful and the nurses on my ward gave me this 

And told me they really loved having me on the ward.

So I suppose even though there are good days and bad days and Fridays and days I want to rip my head off, I still seem to be something right and people seem to appreciate it.

It feels good.

Onto my first few night shifts next week! 

So it goes…

In My Lifetime

So.

It’s getting to be that time of year again for me! My birthday is coming up. I shall in 2 weeks be 24 years old!

Can you believe it. nearly a quarter of a century on Earth. Born out of no where onto this planet and survived 24 years.

I was thinking the other day about what was significant for me in these years. Or significant for the world, rather.

A lot of significant things have happened in my lifetime that has shaped me and my view of the world. My parents used to tell me that in their lifetime, there were a lot of new things. TVs, computers, phones, cameras, etc.

But there have been new things in my lifetime too. And to add, I have seen things die down in my lifetime also.

  1. The invention of smart phones. Quite recent in my lifetime. But still. Very big. I even remember when the smart phones were still in the pipelines, and the first smart device was an iPod touch. Does anyone remember those? It was the first device on which you could surf the internet, download “apps” to play games and connect with others. Huge! Then came the iPhone and Android.

    But these things kind of came without any big hoopla about them. Now, it’s an everyday item. For everyone. Even children.

    I’m sure in the future, paediatricians will add milestones for babies such as “can handle small electronic device such as phone or tablet” and “can use index finger to open apps on a mobile device” Probably as young as 6 months! Wouldn’t that be something.

  2. Internet/mobile banking. This was something that came up during my lifetime. No longer did my parents need to “go down to the bank” to carry out tasks such as opening a new account, applying for a card, taking out loans, etc. Again, pretty big.
  3. E-readers. Invented in my time. My beloved kindle. Can carry thousands of books at once. Your own personal library. Access to so many books at the touch of a screen. You didn’t need to go down to a library or book store to see the most popular books and decide to buy them. Kindle will suggest the most popular books for you, and give you a free sample to try before you buy! Very cool.
  4. Social networking. When I was very young, there was MSN messenger and Yahoo! messenger. As I grew up, there was bebo, MySpace, and then finally, the pinnacle of it all, Facebook. Then of course there was Twitter and Instagram, etc. But the idea of social networking grew massively in my lifetime. Globalisation was a concept they taught relentlessly in social science at high school. And it really was that. Not only was the world’s newest products, businesses and ideas available to everyone, so are people! The growth of “influencers” on the internet has been exponential in my opinion. You can literally say anything and thousands of people will hear it! People follow strangers and become fans just by watching videos on YouTube or following posts on Instagram. It’s pretty amazing.
  5. Dating apps. While blind dates and online dating websites were there when I was younger, I hear the word Tinder wayyyy more these days. Again, I’m not too sure when it became so popular, but I definitely know it wasn’t this big a few years ago. And that’s pretty amazing too. I guess it falls in the social networking category, but it’s just so weird to me that you don’t have to make calls or go to a social event to meet new people any more. You have to put up a profile and a blurb about yourself (which by the way I’m not even sure would be true for most people. You’ve got to either talk yourself up too much or too little) and a picture, and boom! You find someone who actually wants to spend a whole evening with you! Who would’ve thought! And it honestly works for a lot of people! I have a feeling this will be one of those things my parents will tell stories about in a few years. “Back in my day, we had to go out and meet people. Not meet them on a phone.”
  6. Wireless connectivity. Wi-Fi. I was a dial-up kid. Now, my house has fibre optic powered internet. While I used to wait 5 minutes for my computer to make those weird screechy noises before the Yahoo webpage would even come up, these days I complain that my 1080p movie is not loading fast enough on my big screen TV. It’s so bizarre to think about that. My internet would constantly conk out when I was younger. Not that it mattered much then, given I didn’t use the internet as much as I do now. Now, even moving buses have Wi-Fi because it’s so hard to go a few minutes without being connected to the world.
  7. Cameras. When I was younger, you still had to take your film roll to a photo shop to have the photos developed from photo negatives. Now there are people that don’t understand any part of that sentence. Now there are phones that let you take incredibly zoomed up pictures of the Moon. Now there are phones that have 5 rear cameras. There are DSLR cameras that you can share photos from directly using Wi-Fi. Taking photos and editing them and capturing something stunning and having the photos available instantly has never been easier!
  8. Movies and TV shows and music. When I was younger, you had to go see a movie in the theatres or watch a show on TV no matter what time it aired at. Or go to your nearest video store and get a tape or CD. Now things like Netflix has changed all that. While people still go to cinemas to watch movies, you can still watch new movies online and stream them to your TV

    I also used to be of the time when if an artist released new music, you had to wait in line outside your nearest store to buy the CD, get back home and play it on your stereo, then tell all your friends about it the next day. But these days, you can pre-download songs on your phone, you can take them with you wherever you go, artists tease new music online, everyone experiences it instantly on the go and everyone knows about how good it is straight away. Again, Huge.

  9. Electric cars. This is still up and coming. But Tesla, and Nissan leaf and other fully electric cars! I am still waiting for the day that petrol becomes obsolete. Because I’ve got to say, prices of fuel are just not helping anybody. I am 100% behind this cause.

 

I’m sure I could keep going. The advances in the world just in the last 24 years have been numerous. The rate at which things are changes is quite staggering. And I’ve been alive for all of this.

But some things still haven’t changed. Like listening to the radio, using a microwave oven, using a refrigerator, etc.

And not only in technology.

People still have so much appreciation for the world and it’s people. I guess the idea is still to bring everyone closer together and experience everything around the world. And there’s still so much appreciation for history. Just take a trip to Rome or Paris or Greece and you can see how people marvel at old architecture and things.

I guess if this much has changed in just 24 years, I’m in for a lot more surprises over the rest of my lifetime. That’s a lot to think about it.

But for now, I guess I’ll just try to muddle through the current things in my life and be grateful for what I have on my birthday.

🙂

What Do I Know?

Sorry for my absence.

But between Taylor Swift releasing new music and the new Avengers movie coming out, and Adele getting divorced and little old me struggling through working Easter weekend at the hospital,

Things have been kind of hectic.

ME! is amazing though by the way.

I haven’t seen the avengers movie yet.

And I’m very sad for Adele

But damn I have busy. And I know I asked to be busy. I’m not complaining about that at all. But this week is the longest time junior doctors are going on strike for safer hours. 1 whole week! I am Not on strike. I gave up on my union. While I support the cause, I do not support the methods. So this has been the longest, slowest week I’ve had so far. 

And today I want to complain about some of the things I hear around me.

My registrar referring to a patient everyday as “she’s still fat” 

My consultant telling me to do jobs that aren’t mine then walking away without helping me understand them. 

Doctors of different specialties cherry picking their patients – Eg. Rehabilitation wards cannot take obese patients as they have an experience of obese patients previously falling and breaking equipment. Regardless of how much rehabilitation potential they have, they will not be taken over.

People flipping out when they’re stressed and taking it out on the world.

People valuing those  who have so-called “people skills” and giving them awards while those who actually work hard and are deserving are left in the dark. 

Nurses not listening to what I’m saying after I’ve tracked them down and asked nicely to do a job more than once.

People being angry and rude one minute, then turning around and being oddly nice the next. Please give me 1 days notice as to what face you’ll be wearing today.

Sigh.

But I shouldn’t complain too much. I still have things that make me really happy (though they probably shouldn’t) and I’ve still got people who understand when I complain. And I have been learning a lot this week. My registrar is on strike which means my consultant expects me to do his job. Which I’ve been learning to do. So that’s good! 

And so I keep chugging. Hoping for a brand new day every day and trying to be kind of Awesome.

Because you can’t spell awesome without ME! 

Happier

“What do you do if you know someone who makes you extremely happy just by their presence and it feels like they’re built to make you happy, but then you realise that you’re not built to be the one that makes them happy?”

I think we’ve all felt this at some point..

I guess the most you can do is hope that they find someone who makes them just as happy as they make you. 

And yes it sucks that you can’t give them that. But if they truly make you happy, you’d want them to be happy first before anything else. Regardless of the circumstance.

Days Like This

There are good days and there are bad days.

But when you’re driving home tired and low and you can see a sunset like this through the car window on your left

And the rising full moon on your right,

It makes you feel as though the world is reminding you that there’s always something to feel good about.

And tomorrow is a brand new day.

Don’t Get Old

The little old lady coughing away in her room. When I walk in, she smiles sweetly, the wrinkles on her face moving in unison

“Don’t get old” she warns.

Don’t get old.

Don’t develop those wrinkles on your face and skin

Don’t get worn out joints that creak and moan when you walk up stairs

Don’t become slow, holding up the crowd behind you as you slowly make your way down the corridor to the bathroom. You see the young people zoom past you, the breeze they leave behind their walk chills you.

Don’t develop the shakes. You think your hold is strong, but it never is. You’re one tremor away from dropping that cup or letting go of that railing and falling backwards.

Don’t lose your hearing. You won’t hear the questions, the comments, the put-downs.

Don’t lose your eyesight. The world isn’t bright anymore. You’ll see spots and floating things. You need those special glasses to even see your cat’s face.

Don’t experience your internal organs break down one by one. Your heart struggling to pump blood around your body, even though you’re smaller than you ever were.

Your kidneys are finding it harder and harder to clean your blood even though you have to use the toilet more often.

Don’t lose your sleep. Sitting up in your favourite chair during the day while talking to your daughter, you nod off. But you’ll be wide awake, staring at the ceiling with dry eyes at night.

Don’t end up in hospital. Every other day they’ll whisper that they doubt you’ll make it out. They’ll smile and be happy to see you.

Don’t talk too much. They’ll say you’re confused and demented for telling that story that’s so close to your heart more than once.

Don’t lose the person you’ve loved and lived with for more than 30 years. You’ll be truly alone for the first time in your life.

Don’t get old.

Sights Of Sydney

It’s been nearly a week here in Sydney! And I must say I’ve been quite the tourist! 

Here are some of the sights around Sydney! 

Darling harbour! Very big, very bright, but not buzzing. Reminded me of the waterfront back in Auckland but more chill. Such blue water! So picturesque!

This is called Chinese Friendship Garden! It’s in the middle of Sydney CBD as you can see the buildings in the background, but inside it’s pretty believable as it’s own garden. With a waterfall, a pond, several trees, even lizards (that I did not take pictures of)

While I was in Melbourne, I really wanted to see kangaroos and Koalas, but didn’t get the chance to. So in Sydney, I found my way to a wildlife park and even got to feed some kangaroos and watch enviously as koalas slept for 20h. 

Kangaroos are extremely cute by the way. Especially when they hop around! 

Madame tussauds! Not as big as the one in London, I’ve heard. And lacking in Ed Sheeran, but still, very cool. Very realistic Queen of England, and Taylor Swift! Adele not so much though.. 

And Sydney at night! It is definitely buzzing! Loving the low light photos I was able to take! 

But I’ve still got to say, Sydney is far too big for me to live in. My little city of Auckland is much more accessible and everything is familiar. But if you want to live in Sydney, you have to live in CBD. That’s the best way. Otherwise everything is a minimum of 45minutes away with no traffic! Which means, with traffic, it’s up to twice as long. I couldn’t do it.

But otherwise, Sydney is awesome!

Christchurch Massacre

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12213039

It really is a sad day in New Zealand after what happened in Christchurch.

Everyone keeps saying that this is not what New Zealand is about.

People are saying that New Zealand is a safe country. And this is beyond shocking to have happened here in our little country.

What bothers me most is that nowhere in the world is “safe” really.

It’s not the place. It’s the people. It’s the hate that saturates the world everywhere.

One of my friends posted a status on Facebook in relation to today’s incident

“Instead of discussing political debates, spend effort, money and time raising awareness and investing in mental health”

And I couldn’t agree more.

We should be nurturing an environment without blindly assigning blame and hate. One of the reasons people say New Zealand is so safe is because it is incredibly diverse. Everyone should love the differences amongst each other and love what is common, more.

That’s what should be taught to everyone.

It’s about time people started treating each other with respect for whatever it is they are or believe in. Nobody should have the right to hurt anyone else just because they’re different from who they are.

Every single person hurt in Christchurch today was unfairly and unnecessarily victimised.

I hope things calm down in Christchurch, and humanity everywhere moves forward.

Mutually Exclusive

A big issue in the news lately has been the shocking documentary called “Leaving Neverland”. I’m sure you’ve heard of it.

And I, like many people, used to love Michael Jackson. I still have his History album on cassette (audio tape, for you young’uns. Google it) and used to listen to it a lot throughout my childhood and sometimes still do.

Now, I’m not going to comment on the documentary. Yes it’s shocking beyond belief and everybody seems to have an opinion on it.

But there was something the director of the documentary said which sounded weird to me. He said:

“We’re going to have to re‑evaluate the way we see Michael Jackson… People will have to listen to his music in the knowledge that he was a prolific child rapist. If they’re comfortable doing that, fine. If they’re not, well perhaps listen to something else for a while.”

Then I heard that many radio stations in New Zealand have declared that they will not be playing Michael Jackson songs on the radio anymore. Radio stations that had played his music as number 1 of the top 500 songs of the ’90s for several consecutive years.

I think this is kind of ridiculous.

People are trying to make others feel guilty for listening to music. As though they somehow become a privy to his crimes or his character just because they play his music on their phones or radio stations. The music isn’t tainted.

I don’t get why his music has to take a hit. Especially 10 years after he has been dead. What about the 30+ years they were being played and listened to around the world when he was alive and doing the things he’s currently being accused of? Just because there wasn’t enough “proof” of what he was doing when he was alive, his music was okay to be played, but since this documentary, suddenly it’s tainted? These allegations were around when he was alive too, you know.

People seem to be acting as though his songs are no good anymore. And anyone who listens to them are also somehow supporting his paedophilia.

And that makes me very confused.

He is not his songs. The two are mutually exclusive, in my opinion.

I listen to Bad and Beat it and appreciate the music. The music alone. Even if they were sung by someone else, they’re still great songs.

You can’t associate an art with a person to the point where you have emotional attachment with that person. If you believe that every famous person is good and pure, you’re living in a very naive world. Everyone has something hideous about them. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t super talented and can’t produce something that everyone loves.

Every singer/actor you like probably has something you would find horrifying about them. About their character. You just don’t know about it.

I don’t think there’s any point mixing the two up. He can be a terrible person and still make great music. It’s like that saying about giving the devil it’s due. And listening to his music isn’t something you should feel guilty about. They’re still bops. You’re not supporting his crimes or anything. You can still listen to his music and not approve of the things he did when he was alive.

Just appreciate the art for what it is.