Wednesday, August 17, 2005

photography extraordinaire

i'm so upset today... it started out as a really good day. i managed to attend a talk by the renowned national geographic photographer, Michael Yamashita. it was a really good talk and he shared with the attendees stories whilst on the Marco Polo assignment back in 2001 (or rather, a story that was published back in 2001).

Yamashita was in the new national library courtesy of HP photosmart printers (i want one too!!! it's really amazing.. the print quality.. but i don't think that i can afford the ink or the paper.. so forget it!) to talk about his marco polo assignment. Needless to say.. people in the attendance was swept away by his pictures, sense of adventure and humour.

i wish that i had gotten the nerve to ask him what kind of preparation is needed when one embarks on such a journey. seems that he needed to know intimately the details and such of marco polo's journey. basically, living and breathing the details of marco polo's book. And of course knowing and planning the type of pictures to take. Sometimes it's luck...just happened to be there at the right time and the right subject just pops out. More often then not.. lots of planning.. as in knowing what kind of story you want to tell and such. And of cos.. having a endless supply of rolls of film helps too. He actually shot over 2000 rolls of film for the marco polo assignment.

The very affable Micheal Yamashita

The library also had an exhibition of his pictures...

Start of Marco Polo's Journey in Venice
i wanna make my way to Venice one of these days..

Anyway.. so why am i upset??

After attending his talk.. i was inspired to look for reading materials on his photographic journeys. So.... i tracked down Yamashita's book, MARCO POLO: A PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNEY.. where he traces his marco polo assignment.

i even got 2005, july's issue of national geographic cos there was a photographic assignment on Zheng He by Yamashita. BTW, he is currently on a Zheng He's video assignment.

July 2005 National Geographic Cover

So i went home and flipped through my pile of national geographic issues and guess what? I FOUND MY MINT COPIES OF THE MARCO POLO FEATURE!!! May and June issues 2001. i should have checked my national geographic issues first and then brought them down for Yamashita to sign.

Marco Polo feature on National Geographic lost opportunity...

Anyway.. Yamashita told a funny story about the camels in the desert picture.. apparently the silk route is so commericalised that there are thousands of tourists in the sand dunes and each camel is labelled with numbers. he waited til sunset to take that picture so that the numbers on the camels wouldn't be seen. :) hee hee hee.. well mum and dad are going on the silk route next month.. so maybe their pictures will show the real story :)

FYI, there's tons of exhibitions in the new national library now. From the Zheng He to 160 Years of the Straits Times in Pictures... amazing stuff.. i need to find time to go and check them out.

p/s i am inspired to go and renew my national geographic subscription!!

p/s/s i'm still upset about how i didn't get Yamashit'a autograph on my magazines..

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