Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Livingetc House Tours 2015 London





It is always interesting to do something less touristic when you are visiting a city where you haven`t been before. The House Tours organized by Livingetc in co-operation with Arlo&Jacob and AO.com are exactly such a program.

You have the change to participate in two tours in May and one in June and discover different parts of the city by visiting homes of London-residents. Livingetc is a homes magazine therefore they picked homes which represent great design and interesting architectural solutions. In the North London Tour for example there are seven places to visit which are marked on a map which will be sent to you by post.

According to the organizers it is really not a program where only locals participate. They have visitors also from Scandinavia and all over Europe. An other interesting fact is that the tour is organized to support Crisis a local charity for homeless people and the home owners who allow visitors to view their homes are private persons who decided to support this cause.

Photos by Monika Csapo

Monday, May 4, 2015

Dreams and reality

It is funny that sometimes one sentence can trigger so big changes if it comes from the right person at the right time. In January someone close to me was telling me about an other person who learned sort of the things i want to learn and at first i was very jealous to be honest but later it made me think and search for the motives what was so disturbing in that story for me.

Then i realized what disturbed me the most: 1, these were things which are possible to learn, but 2, you have to sit down and learn them or go to school and do so. 3, And you also have to take care of yourself and use your time properly in order to be able to focus- which i failed to do.

After this i learned a lot more about myself and about the thing i am interested at which is photography. I started to read about gear, techniques, joined photo communities and set clear goals for the next and the next steps. I realized that it is a long process what everyone has to go through eventually and knowing what we don`t know yet is really the best way to be able to improve. By joining the photo communities i found people who think alike and see the world the same way i do.

It was very nice to realize that there is actually a platform for everything. There are platforms for art photography and there are platforms for landscapes for example. Some people are interested in more styles, others stick to their own personal style what they found along the way. No matter if it is dancing, or fashion, drawing, painting, singing or sports it is very inspiring to find people at any level who are into something just as much as we are.

I made also an other decisions that in order to speed up the process i am going to attend workshops if i am able to and learn as much as i can in the most time-effective way. It is hard, because it all comes down to ego. And if you want to learn you have to be a blank paper and be open to listen to others, accept criticism- all this in order to become better.

During the last 4 months i learned new techniques and read about filters, and techniques what i have not heard about yet before. It is great to realize that the magic is not that big magic at all sometimes and sometimes when i look at a photo nowadays i know that certain filters were applied, or the skin was smoothed in the digital darkroom. Many times it is actually 4-5 steps to follow only to reach a desired outcome- but you have to know which those steps are. I wanted to tell this here, because i know that many other people feel passionate about something- like i was about photography.

I think it really helps to destroy one`s ego if you want to get better in something first to destroy that passion, and not take positive or negative feedback personal, just to focus on clear, neutral goals and set up a plan and do every step until you reach it. If you know clearly that there is one certain photo what you want to take there is no option for failure. There is only the process until you get there and it is a 1/0-game. 1 is when the photo looks finally the way you want it to look and all the other photos which do not look like it are many 0-s. But you need the 0-s to get to 1.

To cut it short i wanted to share this story mostly, because i realized that there is very little magic in all those stories which shine so much from the outside. There is a lot of work, and there are best practices, and time invested, and also connections and luck- but all of this is not something what can not be reached, because it is something what only the "special ones" are entitled to deserve. I do not say it as someone who got there where she wanted to of course- i do not feel even close to it yet. I say it more as someone who realized that the people who we look up to should not be encouraging because of their greatness. They should be more a positive idol because of their persistence, their devotion and their hard work- which are things that can be copied and applied individually. And if someone fails it is not because someone is bad, sometimes it is "just" the lack of investing enough time in something to get to the next level.

Finally two anecdotes: I was talking with my Dad about Nepal and that I saw photos about the Mount Everest camps after the earthquake. I told him about an other article i read which said that the Mount Everest is not as romantic as many think at all. All the way to the peak you see trash and human remains, yet these are shown not so often as often the victorious photos with the mountain peak in the beautiful sunrise. Then my Dad (who is a successful person in my opinion) said the following: "And anyways what happens if you reach the peak? You reach it and then what?". Probably people are happy for a while, then they get empty and have to look for other peaks to conquer..

The other story is from The Alchemist which was one of my favorite books during the high school years. There is a story about an old man who meets the boy who is the main character of the book. The boy is working at his shop and they become friends. He tells the boy about the pilgrim to Mecca what people in his religion dream about to do at least once in their lives. Many of them do not do it though even if they would have the chance to do so, because if they would they would loose the only thing they can dream about.

I think even when the road to reach a dream, and the dream itself is not so romantic at all in reality as it seemed at first sight it is still worth to try to reach it. To realize this and still be willing to continue is a great motivational power. Because instead of idealizing things and living among illusions one can arrive finally in reality and take real steps.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Suomenlinna after sunset

Photo by Monika Csapo


Photo by Monika Csapo


Photo by Monika Csapo


Photo by Monika Csapo


I am really "jealous" of star trail photographers who can grab their car keys and drive to the middle of nowhere during the night with a tent, their camera and a tripod. It must be great to be outside where there are no artificial lights, just the lights of the headlight of the photographer and some flash lights. Some people do not like night photographs (not talking about star trail photos here) because they feel uncomfortable when it comes to darkness, or it is simply not close to their aesthetic vision. I personally like dusk just as much as dawn. The only concern is being alone outside- probably it is a better idea to go to shoot together with others to more remote places for security reasons.