“I always tell people that the moment they are into collecting or start ordering prints, they become better photographers.” – Saul Leiter (In No Great Hurry)
I can’t really figure out what Saul Leiter actually said but that is roughly it. And this is what I deciphered; there is a lot to study and learn from a photographic print, whether it is mine and others.
The first print I bought was ’Paris Cafe’ (first picture, bottom right) by Tay Kay Chin, a shot from the ’Spooks’ photo book. I can’t really explain why I like this particular shot so much to spend x amount of money buying it, but what I have learned from this ‘first print’ is that a good shot looks even better printed (by the way, this print is now sold out). Now, I’m hoping to purchase the rest of his ‘cafe shots’, ’Tokyo Cafe’ and ‘Budapest Cafe’, just to make it a ‘complete set’. It is potentially becoming a print collecting obsession.
The second print I bought was a print (first picture, top right) from Len Cruz, a fellow street photographer, cool mum, and sneaker fanatic. I have always like this shot, and this print sale was part of the fund-raising initiative put up by the FSP (Filipino Street Photographers) to help the Haiyan / Yolanda Typhoon victims. Great shot, beautiful print, for a cause, why not?
The bottom left print in the first picture is mine, a shot taken in Tokyo, shot through two trains, at really slow shutter speed. Lucky shot? Probably, but it is the first shot I really wanted to print, for no particular reasons. Like all photographs and the emotions attach to them, some just call out to be printed. And yes, if I ever put up prints for sale, this shot will be the first.
The rest of the prints on the leftin the first picture are from ’Please Mind The Gap | Singapore’, all ten of them waiting to be packed and send to Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts for the Young Portfolio Program (yes, I’m thirty four and still young according to the museum); an annual program where the museum invites all photographers, professional or amateur, regardless of nationality, under thirty five to submit their work to be considered for induction into the museum’s permanent collection (meaning they buy your print). It’s not cheap to do prints of archival standard, but it is my last year to submit, plus the selection committee consist of Eikoh Hosoe (museum director), Daido Moriyama, and Masato Seto; having my photographs seen by them is already an honour. Moreover, the submission fee is cheap, and they will return unselected prints, I have nothing to lose and I will never know.
Most of the prints are done by Chiif Cameras, you have to print there to see the excellent quality for yourself.