Category Archives: Arts

Photographs And The Allure Of Still Memories

All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, and mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.Susan Sontag, On Photography

The world we are living allows us to take pictures almost everyday. Cameras are more accessible today compared to any period in human history. Some take photos for monetary profit, other for fashioning their social media, some for personal souvenirs. When I was a kid, playing with an old camera encourage me to understand people as photography subjects. But as maturity settles, it made me realize that the very act of taking photo is intimate but frighteningly cold at the same time. As photographer, you are in the position to look into lives, actions, praxis, and narratives. It is an attempt to empower people by sharing their story. Ironically, you also locate them into a tiny viewfinder where thy are simply subjects under your assumed power as the photographer. And I think this is just one of the many contradictions of photography. Things like this interests me to see how cameras and photographs figure into our mundane existence.

As a form of artistic discipline and technological advancement, photography did not simply emerge out of a social vacuum. The word photography is derived from the Greek word photos which means ‘light’ and graphein which means ‘to draw’. Sir John F.W. Herschel first coined the word in 1839, referring to the method of recording images by means of exposing sensitive materials to light and radiation. Though it wasn’t until 1820s when practical cameras were developed, the science of photography started way back. The origin of modern day cameras are the multiple technological breakthroughs (and mistakes) of the past.

Greek thinkers in the name of Aristotle and Euclid mentioned a prototype of pinhole camera as early as 5th – 4th century BC. It is said that Aristotle pondered on why the sun produce circular images when its light passes through a square hole. This inquiry laid down initial principles on optic laws. Around 1000AD, scholar Alhazen made a thorough study on the manipulation of light, camera obscura, and pinhole camera. During this time, pinhole camera was used to project images of the environment onto a screen. In 1190s, Albert Magnus discovered the use of silver nitrate while Georges Fabricius discovered silver chloride around mid-1500s. In 1694, Wilhelm Homberg documented the darkening reaction of particular chemicals to the exposure of light.

By mid-1820s, Joseph Nicephore Niepce developed the first photograph using camera obscura. Apparently, no other person successfully recorded subjects by means of exposure to light. He called this heliographs, also known as sun prints. This method, however, requires several hours of light exposure and the end results were nothing but crude outlines of the subject. Not to mention the fact that the printed exposure will fade after few days of printing. Nonetheless, Niepce attempt opened a brighter (pun intended) path into the development of better cameras and photographs. Fast forward, this technological innovation served as the prototype of the modern digital cameras and DSLRs that we are using today.

How photos changed the modern world?

I don’t pretend to be making photographs to “help” people. It is a fallacy. But I do sometimes believe that when the images are shared they can illuminate aspects of a life that is overlooked and they can be part of a larger conversation about how we overlook certain people.Stacy Kranitz

In 1972, Nick Ut’s “The Terror of War”, a photo of a young naked girl and other minor civilians crying and running toward the highway after South Vietnamese air force enforced napalm strike on Trang Bang village. After taking the photo, Ut mentioned that he immediately took a lot of water and poured it on the girl’s body because she had been hit by napalm. Thirty percent of her body suffered from third degree burn. This image alone stirred national debates in the US vis-à-vis their direct involvement on Vietnam War. Until now, it is considered as one of the most powerful and influential imageries that raised the ethical consciousness of people on the terrors of war.

Photography changed the modern world in different ways. The landmark photograph taken by Nick Ut tells us how potent a medium photo can become. It allows people to see distant places, cultures, and stories. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, portraits and images are symbol of wealth and prestige. Because getting an artist was expensive, self-portraits and family portraits are only exclusive among the members of the upper class. The invention of photography revolutionized the use of image. It singlehandedly made the production of images available to the public. In the mid-20th century, average people can share their photographs as their versions of their worlds.

Currently, photos have become anthropological and archaeological records. It sketches the life of certain people and draw insights into the complexities of human existence. It helps in bridging the big “Other”. It shows us what it means to be human, and what it means to have humanity.

Final Thoughts…

In just three years, a friend of mine already posted more than 1000 photos on her Instagram account. That’s almost a picture a day! Well, that is a revelation for me. People love taking photos and sharing it to the public.

But why do we enjoy photography? Some may simply answer that it’s for fun. And yes, I would agree to that note. Still, I think there is more to it than that. It is possible that we take photos because it allows us to freeze (slice, if we use Sontag’s expression) moments. The ability to capture memories helps us remember our past. This is why we photograph cool concerts, travels, foods, friends, and family. Photos allow us to narrate our small but personal legacies. It helps us construct our own history.

As an art form, photography is also a way of expression by presentation. While it gives you new insights on how to understand light and the world around you, it also grants you the ability to express how you see the world.

What are you waiting for? Say cheese!

6 Ways to Earn Money with Webcomics

Sometimes, we can’t avoid complaining about our jobs, especially if we landed one that was not our choice in the first place. We feel drained, burned out and hopeless as we go on because we need to pay our bills anyway. What if I’m telling you right now that there are actually ways to earn money online with some fun and artistic business ideas? In particular, I have tips that are perfect for digital comic artists stuck in offices. One of these ideas might just be your knight in shining armor.

What Are Webcomics?

First of all, let’s be clear what webcomics are. Webcomics are also known as internet comics or online comics. All comic strips posted on a website are called webcomics. Like a typical comic strip in print, webcomics follow a certain subject, style or genre. Types of webcomics are comic blogs, avant-garde, graphic novels and the usual comic strips or books we’re familiar with. They are usually made by drawing on a paper first, scanning it and adding colors with software tools.

The Webcomic Business

I have to be honest right now – most webcomics are free. But with your lovable characters, you can branch out to other means so you can finally earn money. You just have to capture everyone’s hearts first. The following are ways to generate money with your webcomics:

Online Advertising

You can learn how to use Google AdSense so you can choose ads that fit your webcomic pages. These Google app utilizes the so-called Google search algorithm. Your budget, expenses and views depend on how you set the pay-per-click amount.

Fan Donations

Although not really reliable, you can try putting a donation button on your webcomic site. Some fans would love to donate money for the sake of keeping themselves entertained with your comics. These fans know that an artist needs “fuel” to get going.

Sending Fan Copies

Some webcomic artists shared that several fans have asked for their original artworks. Let the fans have it and earn money!

Appearance in Comic Conventions

Once your webcomic becomes a hit, it is best to appear in comic conventions. It doesn’t matter if it is a small one. Don’t expect too much if you’re still starting. The thing about transforming art into business is that it takes time for you to be popular, specifically in the online community.

But, if you’re starting to gain fans because of your webcomics, find connections so you can install a booth in a comic convention. When fans appear to greet you in your booth, most likely they would buy anything that has your comic characters or trademark statements.

Printed Comic Books

Okay, I know this sounds ironic – but you can actually earn by printing what you post online. However, this is one of the final options already. This is most likely to happen when your webcomics are already massive hits. You should partner with a popular publishing company. You can also include new collections in your printed materials.

Merchandising

Speaking of print, you can also merchandise your webcomic characters through dolls, toys, stickers, shirts and other usual merchandising materials.

Common Mistakes of Webcomic Artists

Now, we’re heading to the don’ts when you pursue the business of webcomics:

DON’T expect easy money.

Being passionate too much about pursuing your art is not good in some instances, especially if you don’t have a plan B on how to pay the bills. Webcomic business is definitely not something that can give you earnings right after you post something. Some creators actually admitted that it took them a long time, usually several years, to feel their comics’ success financially.

Webcomic business requires your skills and patience. The competition nowadays also makes everything harder than it is. You also have to be friendly and interactive with readers. In addition, the episodes must be updated as often as possible. To lessen the pressure, don’t think about the success of other artists. Yes, they’re earning money but not in an easy way at first.

DON’T start merchandising early.

Many novice webcomic artists haven’t earned more than they expected because they kept on spending for merchandise while not earning enough from their comics. They usually put print publishing and designing their t-shirts first before planning their storylines ahead. This can lead to bad storylines in the middle or fans getting impatient because the next episode takes too long to get released.

Also, don’t focus on merchandising the characters. Try to feel the vibe of fans on what they really like about your webcomics. If your comics became popular because of epic lines, make statement shirts. If the central part of your story is a haunted house, then prioritize that image in merchandising.

DON’T start when you don’t know how to finish the story.

Some people are only optimistic and enthusiastic in the beginning of a project. In the long run, however, they realize that they don’t have the patience and enough creative juices for it. To be more specific, this can also happen to webcomic artists. The right thing to do is initiate a “test drive” for at least a month to make sure that you have the right speed, storyline and technique.

However, it would be better if the posts are per episode, not a bulk good for a month. It is nice to keep the readers wait for a while before the next episode. That only means that they patronize your business.

Planning the storyline doesn’t mean putting it all in. You can just focus on the first three episodes, climax and ending. These are the most important parts of the story. If you ever think about something else, try to include it in the story while trying to connect it to the climax and ending. You will always find a way. Just let your imagination run through.

Final Thoughts

It is nice to pursue our dreams and passion instead of sticking to a day job that we don’t like at all. But, simple planning can really go a long way. We must always think twice before making a major decision in life, especially when it comes to career.