This online shoebox contains random pictures, notes, whatever. I've been a professional writer-photographer for so many years now. It's a damn good excuse to carry a camera around.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma

I'm not really used to having myself get splashed all over a newspaper front page, but it's nice to get the chance to tell some stories I've never told :


You can read the entire web version in the Manila Bulletin online :)

Posted By Lester V Ledesma

Bless the soul of whomever came up with this viral internet challenge. Although the original rules, which state that old photos can be used, don't seem like much of a challenge at all. In fact, when this BW Challenge came my way, I rewired these rules so that only photos taken on the day of the post can be used. That way we actually get to learn something instead of just digging into our hard disks, yah?

Next, I nominated those who aren't hardcore photographers - people who only take casual pictures, like my own mother, for instance - then I sat back and watched the creativity unfold. 

Here's what I learned from the Black and White Photography Challenge:

1) It's Intimidating - but mostly for the hardcore photographers


A few pros and veteran shooters I nominated quietly backed away from the prospect of having to shoot a fresh, new BW photo every day for the next five days. Others complained and stuck to the old rules, which allow the use of old shots. Surprisingly, the ones who relished the rewired challenge were the casual shooters. They took on the challenge and had lots of fun doing it. In my mother's case, she had some reservations at first - but once I told her to "just shoot what you love", she quickly got into the groove.

2) Look out for the newbies, not the veterans


Among the hobbyists', semi-pros' and even seasoned professionals' works, there were very few photos that stood out. The casual shooters, on the other hand, gave plenty of surprises. At first I wondered why this was the case - later I figured that the newbies' heads weren't stuffed inside boxes. Nobody told them what BW photos were supposed to look like, so they had none of the "aesthetic constraints" that were imposed on us by clients, photography schools or camera clubs. This often resulted in quirky original images that didn't quite fit the definition of a "good picture". 

But man - the newbies' photos were intriguing and heartfelt!

3. Shooting everyday requires commitment


That is - if you aspire to a consistently high standard of photography, you gotta put in the work. No matter how "good" a photographer you are, the stunning photos simply won't appear while you go about your everyday life. You'll have to go out and find them, or simply create them.

4. What matters is what's IN the picture


A BW photo executed to perfection can stay mediocre if there is no "heart" in the image. A finely-toned sunset, landscape, street, travel or whatever photo means jack shit if it doesn't stir anything inside you. Sheer beauty is nice, but you quickly get used to it. So yeah, that "special sauce" can make or break that photo. Find that "special sauce" and build your image around it.

5) Lastly - nominate those you can learn from


That way you won't be wasting time, effort and pixels :)



Posted By Lester V Ledesma

Here are the last two photos from the 5-day Black and White Photography Challenge that's been floating around the net. The previous three pictures are in the post below. 

Day 4

Day 5

I decided to up the challenge by avoiding file photos and shooting fresh pics every day. It's not much of a challenge if all you're doing is digging into your hard disk, right?

Posted By Lester V Ledesma

Yet another shoot that ends with me smelling of Chinese incense. It's the week of The Nine Emperor Gods Festival - more incense and more late nights to come!

For more info on the 9EG Festival, check out my article on this month's Smile Magazine...


Posted By Lester V Ledesma

Sak Yant tattoos. Geylang, Singapore.

Sak Yant



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