My Theory of Photography

My first point to make: I am no professional photographer. I am simply an amateur– a passionate amateur however. Before you continue reading, please check out my photography page (<–click).

Now, looking through my page, I’m gonna be straight up honest– a good amount of those photos aren’t “wow” or amazing. A good amount I might even say aren’t good quality. However, what I want you to notice is not the pictures themselves, but the captions. And so keeping this in your mind, I will now dive in to my view of photography.

Society has a big misconception of art. Artworks that look good or unique are praised, and those that aren’t are immediately bashed. A regular person visiting an art museum would most likely look at just the pretty pictures and statues, and say “Wow that looks great” then move on.

Duchamp and his “Fountain”

The artist that defied this (and my favorite artist of all time) was Marcel Duchamp. He embodied the concept of anti-art– if you look at this artwork “Fountain,” it is quite literally  an urinal turned upside down. When first shown, people were outraged– how in the world could this be art? A disgusting piece of urinal cannot be art! The art exhibition show that presented it was looted, and sadly, to this day, there is no surviving piece of Fountain– it was so scandalous it was destroyed.

Going back to Fountain, however, is it art or not? I asked my friends– and a majority of them said no. True, common sense tells us it can’t possibly be art. But that’s because we are living by the societal definition of art, a definition that needs to be fixed.

I argue the Fountain is art because it makes you think. Duchamp’s art was never meant to be visually appealing; in fact, he was fighting against the standard societal norm that good art has to be visually appealing. Rather, I believe that art should be mainly emotionally and intellectually appealing rather than visually appealing. Just looking at Fountain makes you think– what is art really? Is this art or not?

Same with any other art like photography. I remember going on a Facebook group called “Photographers on Facebook,” and as I scrolled through the pictures, it was the same thing over and over again– close-ups of animals and flowers, shots of lightning, pictures of sunsets, etc. The only real meaning behind these pictures? Just because it’s “wow” or good-looking. After a few days on the group, I left because my eyes were being destroyed just looking at these generic pictures over and over again. In other words, good picture quality doesn’t set you apart, and good picture quality alone is in the end just a documentary of the subject– not an art.

I’d call this art– taking a picture of a blank white wall. Probably nothing too good to look at, but I’d find it beautiful– no, not the photograph, but the concept itself is beautiful. A blank white wall. For some, it may convey a feeling of emptiness, lack of activity. For others, it could simply be just a white wall. For me, the very idea that it is a white wall, with no subject, no portrait, no nothing, but whiteness– that excites me. The very feeling that it rebels against the conventional standards of photography. Amazing.

My photo “Second Time Around”

The point is, people in general take photography too literally– they focus only on the beauty of the photo, not the concept itself. And that’s the point of my photography page– when I post a picture of a guy walking, I don’t really mean, hey, look at that guy walking. I mean, look at the way he walks. Look at the way he slumps his shoulder. Look at that shadow following him– it’s more than a shadow. Look at what he’s carrying– it’s more than just a trash bag. Then look at the intense sadness that radiates from all those details combined.

If I were to just post a photo, nobody would get it. That’s why I back it up with captions– I want to show people that viewing photos is more than just what’s being seen, but that it can be deeper. And that is the kind of photography I aim at promoting.

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My Experience With Music Remixes Feat. Yeab Guracha

Yeab Guracha’s avatar

Yeab’s Avatar

Of all the types of music out there, there a few controversial types that are still to be considered whether it’s really music or not. One of them is rap- can really just saying out stuff be considered music? The other is remixes- can getting a piece of music that already exists and shuffling and editing it around be considered creating music?

To be honest, I don’t really listen to these two types of music much. But I have a friend here named Yeab Guracha whose whole life revolves around it. I’m pretty sure he listens to rap daily and not only that, he even does his own remixes. Just check out his SoundCloud: Yeab Guracha SoundCloud

What Mr. Guracha does is actually pretty cool. For instance, one time he went to the LAX Airport and pretty much recorded random sounds happening around the airport. Then, he went back home and with a couple of friends edited it. He took out sounds he liked and rearranged them so that it actually sounded like music. Perhaps maybe one downside was that it took months to complete but I am pretty sure it was worth it for him.

When he asked me to check out his music, I have to be honest- at first I was pretty reluctant. Again, I don’t listen to these music that often. But being a friend and all, I forced myself to listen, and here’s something about this music that I realize is unique. It’s not catchy at first “glance.” I mean, it’s almost pretty monotone much of the time, almost as if someone was just droning on. However, if you listen closely, there seems to be a sort of hidden beauty- for instance the places where it’s edited and also the instrumentals being used. Basically, the beauty is hidden- and sadly, for a short-attention-span world like ours today, most of this beauty won’t be appreciated and will be missed out.

Duchamp’s Fountain

And I also want to make a comment on remixes- it reminds me of Marcel Duchamp’s anti-art. Marcel Duchamp came up with the concept of a ready-made — where he took say a urinal, turned it upside down, and called it art. Duchamp wanted to rebel against the fact that art is something that’s visually appealing by creating art that provoked thought instead of visual pleasure. And more specifically, he wanted to provoke the thought of what art really is.

This is what I feel from remixes- they challenge the thought of what music really is. But with Yeab, I feel he takes it a step farther, cause his music is not that auditory appealing initially. However, the lyrics in it and the instrumentals involved and even the editing involved provokes some thought. In a sense, Mr. Guracha is rebelling against the popular mainstream meaning of good music being nice to hear, as I can see also when he tells me he doesn’t like Macklemore, Rihanna, or other famous popular musical artists that much.

And I asked Yeab once why he makes music such as these remixes, and his response:

So why do I make music? I make music because it satisfies some fundamental desire to find patterns in the chaos of our everyday existence. The harmonic movement of musical sounds through space in a uniquely familiar way is pleasing to both my mind and body. It’s a little pretentious, but I think I have something interesting and worthwhile to say with music. Its easy expressing myself through it because it’s a universal language that brings people together, and I’m totally into all of that hippie shit… just kidding… but anyway, when I sit down and write a song, I am pouring my soul, my thoughts, and sometimes my secrets into it. Music has always been a great release for me, and needless to say, one of my biggest passions in life. I don’t mind if other people listen to my music, but if they like it or hate it, is of no concern to me; as long as I can fix whatever is flawed in the making and I am happy with it. The music industry, like so many others, is filled with people wanting money, fame, or whatever. This leads to people making music for the wrong reasons. Real musicians, in my opinion, don’t care wether they are playing in front of an arena, or in an empty bedroom- they do it for the sake of the music. That is what I think. Some people want me to go and make a name for myself but I’d rather not. If I ever sell an album, great. If I NEVER sell one, great. I love music with all my heart; I would be ashamed to cheapen it, by pursuing it for the wrong reasons. Now that I’ve poured my heart and soul upon YOU, I’d like to end with a quote from one of my favorite musicians and artists.

“When we started the band, it was because we were waiting for a sound that never happened. We got tired of waiting, and we decided to just do it ourselves.” – Mike Shinoda