I am not a photographer but I have a lot of photographs. Mostly food related ones. My photography modus operandi is simple; if I take dozens of photographs of the same subject, I just hope to get one decent one. It's lazy photography. I have a good camera but don't really know how to use it. I get tips from experts, which I promptly forget or just half remember. By fluke, occasionally, I manage a nice shot. But I don't know how I achieved it. I'm guessing many food bloggers know what I mean.
The photographs I have are on memory sticks, in mismanaged folders on my computer and hard disk. They appear miraculuosly on my apple products, in collections, as moments, in years and albums, streams and rolls - all over the place, without me allowing or knowing it most of the time. The same photograph could be in five different locations. I fear that the cyberspace police could apprehend me at any moment for being wasteful with space, a kind of megabyte hoarder with little regard for his cyber-footprint. I frequently feel guilty about this, and promise myself to take charge of the situation, to delve in to all those storage spaces and cull.
But then I remember I've been blogging for 8+ years and travelling extensively for much of that time. I have twelve years of pictures from my time in Hanoi, too. It's not going to happen. Death would come first. So, allow me to leave the past pristine with my mess of crappy photographs (oh god, imagine if they existed in a physical sense - I'd hang myself!) and start anew with a pledge to cull as I go from now on. I'm intending to make better use of my subscription to flickr by regularly uploading the few decent photos I take as the rest get systematically clicked to wherever it is deleted photos end up. I don't need to know where or what that hell is, either!
In this new spirit, let me share some of my 'lucky shots' from this year's trip to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. As is our want, the god and I spent several hours in the markets there, specifically the Central Market and the Russian Market. We had a memorable seafood lunch of grilled squid, skewered king prawns and Angkor beer at the former and a wickedly greasy noodle dish crowned with a fried egg at the latter. We walked the fresh produce sections of both over and over again. I documented that experience at the time.
In looking back at the images, however, I noted the prevalence of the people of the market. There was the jewellery repairman who turned away from his soldering iron for a moment to light incense and offer bananas to his deities. There was the butcher sitting cross-legged in pink, camouflaged almost by the similar blush of her meat on hooks, examining her accounting figures in an exercise book. The beefy strongman on the market's periphery was looking up, taking a second from his unenviable task of ripping the visceral mass from the mantel of hundreds of squid. His stomach was dotted with ink.
The teenage boy butcher has worked up a sweat lifting his hatchet to deftly split the craniums of goats' heads. All these people are experts at what they do, masters of tasks they have perfected through practice and hard work.
Something I'm going to have to learn, to become a better photographer.