Picture of Buddha
This dramatic still life picture of Buddha won 2nd prize in a photo contest at end-2006, organised by The Museum Shop by Banyan Tree, Singapore.
The theme of the contest was “Something old, something new” and the contest was held in conjunction with the re-opening of the Singapore National Museum, which had been closed for several years for a major renovation and overhaul.
I thought this picture of Buddha fitted the theme well.
The glass mannequinn head with the bold necklace not only represents the new, but also the material, whereas the Buddha in the background represents the old and the spiritual.
Looking at Buddha by richard seah
This picture of Buddha was taken at Peach Tree Gallery, an antique shop along Tanglin Road, Singapore.
My friend Chin Joo works at the shop as a part time sales assistant and I had droped in one evening to pay him a visit as I was in the vicinity.
It so happened that I had my camera with me, and it so happened that the antique shop owner wanted some pictures taken of his products.
So I took this picture of Buddha and a few others pictures – of Buddha and as subjects as samples to show him. He was suitably impressed and he gave me the assignment.
Antique shops such as this one – which is well lit, has its objects well displayed and also has a mix of modern as well as antique objects – offer great opportunities for what I call candid still life photography.
This involves taking still life photographs as they are, without specially re-arranging the objects and without setting up special studio lighting for photography. Instead, I “arrange” myself as the photographer to find the best angle.
The shop's use of halogen lighting was more than good enough. Halogen lights cast a slight yellow tint but that can be easily corrected with Photoshop. Or the picture can be changed into a black and white photograph, which was what I did.
I call this picture of Buddha "Looking at Buddha” because that is what the half-head lighted glass figure of the lady appears to be doing. Or, it might be called Buddha necklace, highlighting the two strongly contrasting elements of this black and while photograph.
This picture of Buddha has an unusual composition. The image of the glass figure is strongly dominant – it is not only big, but also much brighter than the rest of the picture. Plus, her big, bold necklace adds to the dominance.
Yet the eye of the viewer is inevitably drawn towards the smaller, darker and more serene Buddha image at the back.
To me, this is a balance of yin and yang. The Buddha image, although more subdued, is powerful enough to balance the moden image of the glass figure.
I will be putting up more pictures of Buddha and candid still life photographs of antiques when I finish my photo assignment at the antique shop. So look out for them in the next month or two. (I am still not sure when I will be taking the pictures, as the shop owner and I seem to be always busy and not able to meet each other!
Prints of this picture of Buddha are available for sale. Larger prints come in very limited editions, but smaller 5R and 8R prints are made very affordable to encourage the collection of fine art photographs by those with limited budgets.
All prints, including the affordable 5R and 8R prints, are signed by me, Richard Seah.