Intention - Anthony Mak

Anthony takes after his grandfather who was an early adopter of photography in the early 20th century. With the same pioneering spirit, Anthony, experiments by combining old lenses with the latest modern camera sensors to create images with a different character.

But, his reason for using old lenses runs deeper than aesthetics - it is also about INTENTION, which is at the heart of the definition of art.

Take a scene in nature: it may be beautiful, but it's not art, because there is no intention or workmanship behind it. When the artist steps into the scene, he or she makes decisions about its presentation (composition) and this intention turns a beautiful scene into a work of art, when combined with skilful workmanship in its production (such as choosing the best aperture, speed, ISO; focusing for the appropriate depth of field; and choosing appropriate lenses and other equipment).

So what do old lenses have to do with INTENTION?

Well, old lenses have no electronics and therefore offer no creature comforts, such as: autofocus, auto-aperture and image stabilisation. This means every photo must be manually set with careful attention to detail, which makes Anthony more engaged in the process, which in turn creates photos rich with INTENTION.

To appreciate the difference, consider how photographers shooting with fully automatic cameras tend to be led by the technology. When they point their cameras at a subject, the camera decides where the focus point is. The photographer just frames the shot and pushes the button - he or she is effectively a point-and-shoot photographer and INTENTION is robbed from the image. This loss of skill and intention makes it more like mass manufactured art, because it has lost its element of workmanship. It's artistic merit rests entirely on subject and composition, but it can no longer be considered a "work" of art, because it lacks the artist's "work" and skill essential to its production.

Without this technological crutch, Anthony is each time forced to decide which part of the subject he wants in focus and what aperture to use. He must "work" for his art with skill and precision. Thus, his photographs contain artistic merit both, from his choice of subject/composition, and the old-fashioned workmanship he puts into the image from his skill in manually operating the lens and camera.

In short, his INTENTION and SKILL are ever present in every shot he takes, and in every print purchased by his clients, in the grand tradition of photography as art, but updated to a digital format.

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