On photography and writing

A good photograph anchors the story you’re telling, and helps to give it weight.

I’ve never been more aware of the relationship between photos and words than I am now, as a writer, a mum, and an amateur (read iphone) photographer.

Photography is one of the skills that bloggers or writers tend to pick up while doing our art. In the past year or so, I think I’ve grown more attuned to aesthetics, placement of subjects and the space around them, and the networking of colours.

And obviously the kids make naturally awesome subjects to practise on.

God knows how much I covet a DSLR…For the record, I haven’t found the courage or time to pick up a DSLR. I heard it’s a route that one will travel and not turn back on. Plus lugging the kids around is weight enough for me, and so I’ve been content just playing around with my iphone.

I’ve also found that apps make cool toys. I’ve started falling for picfx, which is the app I used to edit Vera and dad’s hadouken moment. And of course instagram, which almost everybody is on these days. I think apps like these satisfy our need for beauty, as well as  community, as exemplified by the avid usage of #hashtags. And perhaps a bit of narcissism, since we all get to prettify ourselves and earn likes for the most adorable pictures of our children. But I try not to think so much, and just enjoy the process. Anyway the cute/fun/funny/lovey pictures will be more for us to reminisce and savour in old age, no?

But I digress. (See what apps do to me?) I wanted to talk about the relationship between photography and writing.

For me, my photos are often the main starting point of a blog post. Like the picture of Vera and her granny walking in the park. Or the lovey-dovey one with dad and daughter holding hands. Or dreams by a window. They give me the spark of inspiration with which I need to start a post and the focus so that I don’t digress.

Sometimes, like the hadouken example above, the photo IS the post. On all other occasions, they embellish a post and help bring out the essence of the story.

I love taking shots of the kids outdoors and at play. It’s where they’re in their zone, and where I can feel comfortable running about in shorts and doing silly things like experimenting with angles, focus, lighting and so on. I also secretly love the green and blue backgrounds that come with those shots. Where there is sunlight highlighting the subject, all the better.

Here are some of my recent favourites, all instagrammed or picfx-ed.

JJ’s selfie, all joy at being able to hold the iphone and seeing himself on the screen.

a joyful boy

Happy boy at the top of the slide. Photo taken literally through a hole in the floor.

shining happy boy

Another variation of the hole-in-the-floor shot.

Just chillin’ (also the cover pic on my facebook page)

Defying gravity.

defying gravity

Like I said, I’m amateur-ish and there’s still lots to learn. Here are some of my inspirations: 6 tips for better instagram photos, scissorspaperstone for her photos of crafty and yummy things, and photographers like Project Alicia and Steph Tan.

I harbour a hope that one day I’ll make that leap into the DSLR world, and never look back, except to perhaps laugh at my own naivety at thinking the iphone was ever enough for me. (But hey it’s all about my own growth and development, so no judgment calls are being made here.)

If I may say so myself, I think I’ve grown in writing and photography in the past few months. I feel as if one passion feeds the other, and creates a giant snowball.

What do you love about photography and/or writing? Do you own a DSLR and why or why not?

2 babies and a blog

I’ve got two adorable babies – okay, to be exact, 1 toddler, 1 baby, and a hubby who sometimes acts like a baby.

And I’ve got a blog. Yes, the one that you’re reading right now.

This blog was born on 11 January 2011. Inspired by a simple strand of four words that sprouted from my then 2-year-old’s mouth. And as it approaches its 9-month birthday, I’m beginning to realise that there’s little difference between bringing up a blog and bringing up a baby.

The blog doesn’t poop, doesn’t cry, doesn’t need to be cuddled or rocked to sleep (it doesn’t sleep at all, in fact), so what the heck am I talking about?

It’s the sheer amount of effort required to upkeep a blog. The fresh milk of content that you need to keep feeding it. The creativity needed to clear its hiccups. And the pure passion to keep it alive even when you’re so zonked out.

Even when it throws up undigested bits of its last milk feed on your shirt…

Bringing up a blog is bloggy hard work.

You have to be willing to bare your soul to the world. It’s like baring your baby’s poop-clad bottom on youtube. And sometimes…sad to say, you’re the only one who loves viewing it.

And maybe your hubby.

And what happens when the kids grow up, and start questioning why you chose to broadcast their every move (and bowel movement) on the Internet…

You have to crack your head to think of fresh ideas, ideas that entertain, move, surprise, or delight your readers. You have to be original ALL the time. (And I’m actually quite amazed at the amount of interesting / provoking content that’s out there. Just waiting to be stumbled upon. Most inspired by the very mundane things that fill the lives of mums and dads.)

All this while having to run after an energizer-bunny-of-a-toddler and caring for a baby who pees/poops at will?

What I find most challenging is the push for popularity. I detest hard-selling (on a normal day), and suddenly I find myself bordering on shameless, asking friends and family to like my posts, and show their support for my new Facebook page. What’s with me??

Sometimes, I ask myself ‘what the hell am I doing?’ bringing up a blog, when there are real human lives to invest in, deadlines to meet, and endless washing of bottoms to do.

Then I get reminded of the original purpose of this blog, the one I wrote in the About me page –  I hope to share what I’ve learnt (and continue to learn) as a young working mum, and hopefully encourage and inspire other young mums out there.

Encourage and inspire. Parenthood is such a BIG thing. Make that a big and often lonely thing. Most days, I could sure do with a big dollop of encouragement and inspiration to keep going.

I realise I need to keep the faith – keep the candle burning – to stay true to myself and the things I’m passionate about. And hopefully, one day, the kids won’t mind seeing their lives splashed out in all their messy splendour.

Whether you LIKE it or not, I’m gonna keep having blogs. Though I can’t say the same about babies.

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