Contemplative Photography

If you are looking for photography that makes a statement about the world and encourages you to contemplate on your place in the world, you’re in the wrong place. The contemplative photography that I’m taking about is a selfish journey that I go on when I have the luxury of time to walk explore a place and photograph as I please, by myself. During this self indulgent time, I get to think about what is going on in my life, how I’ve reacted and how I could have better handled a situation.

It sounds like the second round of lockdown has hit most people quite hard. In speaking to others, this second lockdown might even be worse than the first because we’ve tasted level 1 freedom and there is fear that in future a single community case could throw us back into lockdown. Unlike others, this lockdown has been better for me as I’m learning to strike a balance. I’ve found time to take a break and be more reflective.

I usually work 45-50 hour weeks. I generally enjoy what I do but it has been getting tougher to find joy in my work. I work best when I can interact with others to understand their point of view and collaborate effective. It doesn’t even have to be face to face. I can also work well with people who are in different locations across New Zealand. However, Covid induced lockdowns and the resulting requirement to work from home have resulted in changes to people. I observe the following emotions and behaviour quite regularly: Panic, sensitivity to comments, lack of engagement, disinterest and over reaction. I notice them because I observe them in myself.

If I take the moral high ground and absolve myself of the need to take responsibility of my actions, I would blame grumpy individuals who roll from bed to desk without the needed change in environment that encourages a shift to a work suitable mindset. I would also blame texting as a replacement for talking. Unless you’re communicating specific measurable ideas, texting concepts through SMS, Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp is simply asking for trouble.

But I want to take ownership. I want to be an architect not a victim. What that means for me is something I’m still working through. Photography gives me time to think and maybe I should see if there can be any cross overs between my life and my photography. As I wind up my exploration of Eden Terrace, I realised that my approach to communication should be summed up in two words, just enough. I should not be so anxious to explain or fill the silence. Judicious choice of words. The last word does not need to be mine. Plenty rich after 5 paragraphs.

Here are the photos from exploring the right handsome of Newton Gully that divides Eden Terrace into two unequal halves.

The good news, I’m pretty sure I’ve settled on my custom setting. It does not emulate any film stock but it has the desaturated yet vibrant look I’m looking for.

Author: Jason Phang

Hailing from Humid Singapore, I’ve been calling Auckland, New Zealand home since 2005. I love making photographs and I generally veer towards street photography.

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