Category Archives: Photography

Perfect

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O my faith, my untamed knowledge, how shall I fly to your height and see with man’s larger self pencilled upon the sky? – Out of My Deeper Heart (Kahlil Gibran)

I remembered once, while peering into the viewfinder of my newly acquired camera some years ago, a seasoned photographer gently reminded me that “the difference between painting and photography is the canvas that you begin with. With painting, you start with a blank canvas and you gradually add in your subject. Whereas with photography, you begin with a full canvas, and it is the eye of the photographer which is required to skilfully edit out the subject that is not needed to make the picture meaningful and beautiful”

Uffizi Gallery, Florence

This was during one of those random phases in my mid-20s in which I wanted to try every aspect of art, like throwing pieces of bait into a lake and seeing which one gets hooked first. I was in Petaling Street, and it was a short walking photography course. It was also when I learned that critical difference between a beautiful painting and a beautiful photograph.

Like photography, our understanding is framed within our own experience, coloured by an understanding that is unique across individuals, and almost always never the same between two people. Whether we are willing to admit it or not, the way we view the world is edited. Certain subject are given extra focus, while the rest, and sometimes equally as important subjects are given less emphasis, blurred into the background. We truly see what we really only want to see.

Yet, I believe we stand to miss out on the beauty of life if all we do is to remain perpetually stuck in this ‘editing’ mode. If we are constantly busy removing subjects out of our frame because it is less then what we view as ideal. If we are always kept busy at focusing on one subject, and allowing light to expose the best feature of a single item amongst a sea of equally beautiful subjects. Part of what makes photography exciting I believe, is also the waiting. Time spent in a momentary stillness, watching and observing within the viewfinder until the ‘right’ subject walks in and captured at the perfect time. But what if there is no such thing as a right subject nor a perfect time? That every moment, every frame and every picture stands in its own right, perfect as it is. Because what may be beautiful for you, may be something that I may not be able to appreciate at all. Art is subjective, and elusive. And that is why it can be called beautiful even if it is the most random lashing of spilled paint on a blank canvas.

An artist (who paints!) once said on an interview “art is not meant to be understood, because by trying to understand you confine its meaning within your own experience, interpretations and biasses. Art is to be felt by the heart, and not to be interpreted by the mind”

And so it is, rather than spending so much time editing, creating and moving our life about towards that one perfect, ideal picture, perhaps it is better to go beyond and above this concept, “to fly to the height of your untamed knowledge” and feel the vastness and perfection of life from this perspective instead.

Perfect
You know this has to be
We always were so free

2012 in review – WordPress style

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for Almost Hijau. A BIG thank you goes out to my awesome and amazing blog-friend, Ms. Bianchi of athingirl.com who is also the one who never fails to leave a comment every time I write something.

What a year 2012 has been. To all those responsible for the 1,900 views – stay in tune for more adventures in 2013!

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 1,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 3 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

2012 – A year of adventure and personal triumphs

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2 days before Christmas and one week before the turn of another year. 2012 has been especially generous and kind to me and I wanted to take this time to reflect back on what this year meant and all the achievements accomplished.

1. The Italian Job

Back when we were 12, my best friend, Z and I made a promise when we turned 24 we will go to Cape Town, South Africa as one of those trips you make to celebrate a milestone in your friendship. At 24 we figured we did not have the means nor the resources to go so the trip was postponed for a few years. Finally at the end of 2011, when we decided that it’s finally time the venue was changed to Italy.

For months we planned, and in March we flew into Rome and thus began our 10 days Italian trip termed as “The Italian Job”. It was our first trip together and we covered Rome, Naples, Sorrento, Capri & Florence in that 10 days. We ate loads, walked loads, and had our unforgettable “Paris Hilton & Nicole Richie” moment which involved getting stuck in a 3-pointer turn close to the Prada outlet, pushing a car manually, and waving frantically from the side of the road to flag down for help – all because we didn’t know to get into reverse mode on a manual car on a European car, you’d have to pull the knob up before pulling it back to reverse.

Endless trips of gelatos

Blue sky in Sorrento

THE best meal of my entire life, and just the way to celebrate turning 27

Ah, joy

17 years and going strong – my awesomepossum BFF

2. Vikasa Yoga, Teacher’s Training Course

The trip that altered everything internally and within me. They say to build or break a habit, keep doing something for 21 days. The 1 month spent on the beautiful island of Koh Samui fulfilling a schedule of 6 days a week of yoga, philosophy and self inquiry gave me the amazing gift of a new habit. My morning practice is invaluable to me as it provides me with the time and space to center my thoughts and get in touch with what really matters before I face the crazy rat race each day.

I discovered my love of teaching, that I could combine it with my obsession of healthy food, healthy living and geeky thirst of wanting to know every muscle and every bone in the body. I experienced an unexplainable sensation of joy, incomparable to any kind of happiness I have ever felt that moved me to tears. And most importantly I learned forgiveness is without a doubt, very very possible.

Setting our intentions out into Koh Samui’s skyline

When you are so alike, it’s not hard to bond over a very short period of time

3. The most beautiful, intimate, and amazing wedding to date

When Nan and Indar got engaged late last year, I knew deep down this was a union that will last for a long time to come. Their wedding this year solidified that belief as I became part of their beautiful wedding and watched happiness oozing out of every action, every event, every gesture and word that they uttered. Although I could not attend all of their events, I was especially honored to be able to walk with her into the temple as part of her family entourage. At her reception, I gave my first wedding speech ever and was ultimately relieved and proud that it went down as planned where the audience laughed when I wanted them to – perhaps this could be the moment that began my career as a stand up comedian? Haha ok maybe not..

Still, I had a lot of fun and their marriage re instilled my beliefs that weddings CAN be a fun and a joyful affair.

If happiness can be encapsulated to just one couple, this would be it. Congratulations Nan & Indar!

 

Of course there are other achievements I’ve reached this year in my career which remind me that I can indeed achieve anything that I put my mind to, and perseverance will eventually pay.

Looking back into the past 12 months, these 3 events stood out amongst all the rest precisely for the impact it has on me. It reminded me that God is generous in all His beautiful and mighty ways. Subhanallah

Closing the year off, I will be in Jakarta to visit a dear friend from Vikasa. Indeed this has been a year of travel, a year of adventure, a year filled with self inquiry and revelations of who I am and a year filled with challenges yet a one that is brimful with rewards too.

May 2013 continue in momentum of these positive growth and may it be filled with abundance, joy and love. Happy New Year!