February 12, 2008

A Glade in a Gleam of Light

A discussion of the photos of Rarindra Prakarsa at Metafilter leads to this linked article by Mark Hobson at The Landscapist.

I'm not enough of a photographer to know how K manages to acheive the effects visible in his idylic images of children poised in their customary frolics. The golden shafts of light, yes, I can see that happening in an air full of dusts, although I don't live in land that sees much of that kind of weather. But there's the chance, implicit in comments by some of the Mefites, that the photographer has postprocessed the image to bring out an unnatural amount of goldenness in his images, a rejected Thomas Kinkaid level of painter of light romanticism that the landscape never really owned in the first place, for whatever reason.

So, over at the Landscapist, the host hosts a couple of K's shots, and the comments there tend off in the same critical direction (comments at Metafilter being comparatively brusque, as fits the established rhetoric there, but similarly inclined), suspecting that these images, however capably produced, are in a word, aesthetically speaking, corny.

So the Landscapist posts a few pictures of the sorry land around Jakarta, a peopled urban midden of the sort that is the handmaiden of massive urban environments everywhere around the globe.

And a couple of the commenters bite. Oh, yah, that's more like it. See, this is Indonesia here.

And then a communication comes from a fellow in Indonesia, expressing as best he can in English the immensity of the place, the vast variety of scene and experience embodied there, how a person in Indonesia can see the urban desolation but cannot deny the children and goats and lanes and ponds and trees breaking all the light to little golden bits as it refracts off of countless leaves, that exist there at the heart of Indonesia as well.

Me and my generation still struggle to fix poverty in this country. But hence..there's a lot of time when we were felt very sad about what happened in our country. Mad And loose the spirit to change the way our goverment rule. Tired on corruption and lazy people.

When that times come, looking in some Rarindra's photograph give us good feeling.

Still. Rarindra may dont have any clue about what he has done. I think he's just want to make a beatifull portrait of Indonesia and represent it in dreamy way. The reality sure is not good as the photo. But looking at his portofolio give me sense of pride. We love this country. And will do something to make it remain loved.

Call it third world fake realism. But for me it worth something.

I admire Rarindra Prakarsa for being able to retain the color of objects in the foreground of his images. Because I can't do that I wonder how he does. When I shoot directly into a light source, objects in the foreground take on a heavy shadow not visible to the naked eye. This image of the sky above Hetch-Hetchy has that in spades:

The solitary tree and the abrupt cliff on the side of the road were swathed in midday light when I took the photo, but the camera, given the settings I inflicted on it I suppose, winced at all the brightness overhead, and the tree and cliff are left in darkness in the image as recorded, as is the telephone pole to the right. I don't know how to avoid that, but Rarindra Prakarsa does, I'll give him that. Maybe it's some f-stop thing, or an adjustment of the ISO speed or white balance or something or other that if I knew my camera better I'd be able to allow for. Or, maybe it's something that's best left to Photoshop, selecting and enhancing from the shadows of the image the colors masked in shadow but retrievable by that powerful program's intervention.

When I first looked look at Rarindra Prakarsa's photos I was immediately immersed in questions I have about technical aspects of picture taking without any regard whatsoever to the corniness so many find there.

I see by his photos Rarindra Prakarsa has found some satisfactory solution to the problem I have with shadow-filled foregrounds. I like that.

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