Project HOME (HO{pe} + ME{mories}) in the making


Having the privilege to be told about the One Dream’s charitable cause, I agreed perhaps over enthusiastically to help a friend out on his 2012 art project at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel recently in Singapore.
After a few weeks, I received an email detailing the project needs and my contribution.
My first reaction was: shucks!!!
The deal was I will donate 6 pieces of my work which will be produced in limited edition to be sold as affordable art for 600 homes in Singapore.
The theme was: HOME | hope and memories.
Herein lies the problem.
I have lots of photos in my archive that touches on the subject of hope.
Simply because they are mostly picture of despair.
Children seeking hope.
Women seeking hope.
Destitute seeking hope.
Blind seeking hope.
… you get the drift.
I have lots of hope photos … that is laced with sad, painful memories.
I have one heck of a lot of hope photos which no one wants to hang on the walls in their home to stare at sufferings.
Naturally, I could get my gear out and take a 6-photo series of happy hope and memories photos.
But …
….I tell myself that I can’t do it with a bad back.
….I tell myself the deadline is too short.
….I tell myself one heck of a lot of justification … short of admitting that there’s a flawed microchip in my brain that says:

“Penny, HOPE and MEMORIES photos are like those taken by Susannah Conway and Jen Altman.”



Oh yes sire, I have many a times attempted to be a Susannah Conway wannabe … but only in my head.
I went as far as to procure two Polaroid cameras … nearly bought a mint SX-70 Land one in Hong Kong for a whooping USD 380!!! only to be saved by a pigeon who poo-ed on me as I stared at the rows of shops with signages that says “red dot” aka Leica along Stanley Street only to have me rush back to the Grand Hyatt Hotel to wash up.
But I do have one entire shelf of my mother’s 3 fridges stocked up with really ancient Polaroid 600 films and some Impossible Project ones … untouched.
{compared to the fact that I persuaded Fuji Film to bring in Velvia and Provia, and they in turn coerced me into getting 20 bricks each … thereby turning me into a Velvia and Provia reseller for 8 months!!!, trust me, this Polaroid hoarding is nothing.}

So given that I do not have the ‘eye’ of Susannah Conway, I dug hard into the archives while trying to maintain objectivity and was able to convince myself that a 6-photo series of Buddha’s little helper may just cut it.

errr… for one, Buddhist {which makes up a large proportion of Singaporeans} will not mind hanging photos of adorable little novice monks in their homes.

And yes, it can be interpreted as Hope + Memories if I were to stretch the argument a bit.

But even after hours of shortlisting with critical eyes, I still hit the brick wall.
My style remains solemn.
Dark. Mysterious. Just DARK in every sense of the word.
… then BINGO!
A hair brain idea struck me.
Maybe if I just processed them to look like a drawing or painting, it won’t be too bad.
It may just lose the photojourno edge … and there goes 8 hours of scrutinizing and eye squinting at Dave Hill‘s work.

uh huh… I am seriously disillusion.
Never once I doubted my mental state, but I do slip into massive desperation.
And for those of you who know me, you’d know that my photoshop abilities includes: crop, resize image, resize canvas, add text, dodge, burn, and move some sliders on saturation, brightness and contrast. I don’t even know how to do exposure correction in the digital darkroom.
So, technically speaking me and Dave Hill occupies different and opposite ends of the universe.
… I must have lost a lobe in my brain to think I could pull it off.

But in any case, enjoy…
This is the Dave Hill inspiration:

Screenshot taken from Dave Hill Photography website {}

This is my photoshop edited shot with 3 composite photos {the back ground of Rumtek monastery, the running monk in the foregrounds and the a bit too large (very large actually) birds flying in the back ground}:

 © p.{Haque} – All Rights Reserved – Buddha’s Little Helpers in Rumtek Monastery
In any case, I thought I should clarify {not justify} some things in relation to my photos:
  1. The intent is not to get the grunge look Dave Hill is famous for.
  2. I’d like to have the grainy drawing / painting effect, not the noise / grain film look.
  3. Unlike his brightly lit and controlled lighting environment, majority of my shots are very dark … rendering any lens flare, light effect difficult. e.g. in the photo below, please compare the original to appreciate what I’m saying. How the heck do I achieve a non-somber look?
  4. Why does my CS5 not have ‘Light’ effects? I only have render ‘Clouds, Lens Flare’. Is it under a different tab somewhere?

So, if you have any advice on the above 4, please let me know.

Oh, you can comment on the suitability and provide suggestion of type of shots too.
Thanks in advance!
 © p.{Haque} – All Rights Reserved – Buddha’s Little Helpers in Lingdum Monastery – edited

 © p.{Haque} – All Rights Reserved – Buddha’s Little Helpers in Lingdum Monastery – original



4 thoughts on “Project HOME (HO{pe} + ME{mories}) in the making

  1. Dear Rajeeva, thanks for dropping by and the lovely comment. Unfortunately the Kandalama photo in this blog was not taken by me. I do have some other Kandalama shots in the archives though they are all day shots. Frankly, I don't have an 'eye' for architecture shots either (heh heh) – but amazingly got published commercially for a bungalow I took in Kuala Lumpur!If you can email me on, I'm happy enough to give you some Kandalama shots – you don't have to pay – just credit me.We'll hook up on email – it's easier.Thanks,Penny

  2. A query for you. Did you take the night shot of the Geoffrey Bawa designed hotel in Kandalama, Sri Lanka? I ask the question because my company – Savlanka – would like to include it on their website. We'd obviously pay you for the privilege. An aside. Having discovered your blog, on my great search trying to find this bloomin photo, I reckon I'll be returning to check out your musings & your cracking photo. Keep it up. ThanksRajeeva Perera.

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