Kamal Tung | kamaltung.blogspot.comSometimes a simple thing - a gesture, a glance, anything small really - can give birth to something immense. Milan Kundera for example, once wrote that "a single metaphor can give birth to love." For Kamal Tung, the simple gesture that pulled him towards photography was being gifted with a film camera by his best friend Hyu. He has been foraging images of the world in film ever since. (By the way, we’ve featured Hyu previously. Check out his article here)
Film photography has been gaining steam for the old souls. Aside from its characteristic grainy look, there is also the appeal of the challenge. For Kamal, the challenge is "the unpredictability of the results, loading the film and the anticipation of processing. The loud click as I advance the roll, knowing that there is a limited amount of shots, so I’d best get it right."
He goes on to say that shooting with film is more reflective of life. You hardly get to have a second shot. And this is pretty true, isn't it? We don't get to 'photoshop' our circumstances. You don’t get to soften the edges that hurt you, de-saturate the colours you don’t want to burn so bright, or crop a person out of your life so simply. Once we make a decision - pull the trigger, if you will - we get what we get. No second shots. Just one picture, and we're going to have to make the best of that one shot we got.
Sean Marc Lee and Lina Scheynius are two photographers that lend him inspiration. Aside from that, exploring different moods and different countries - pretty organic-sounding sources of inspiration - also find their way into his work. And since he's so au naturale, it is no surprise that his favorite subject to photograph is people. More specifically, people in their most comfortable and natural disposition. No poses.
Looking through his shoots with certain people, the word that comes to mind to describe the mood is this: intimacy. Proving my hypothesis, Kamal shares that "the content of the pictures is conveyed through the closeness i share with them." The pictures, essentially, are based on the relationships he shares with his subjects. Just look through the pictures and you’ll understand this to be true. There is something touching in the natural way they are effaced, laughing or so trusting of the person behind the camera.
I try to document my life as much as possible, so one day I can open my photographic archive and remember what was I doing and who i was with in the different periods of my life through those pictures.
I suppose there is more we could say about Kamal Tung. That when he travels, he snaps portraits of people that intrigue him. That he wants to give his audience a glimpse into the different walks of life through his pictures. That he would like, one day, to flip through his pictures and recollect the best time of his life, recalling each scent and detail of youth. That his favorite picture is of a girl in a blue dress holding a bunch of films.That the reason he loves that picture is because it encapsulates his definition of contentment - "cause all i need is my camera, films and my lovely girlfriend."
We could say a lot of things. But as with artists, i think it is best we just go straight to their work and let it move us.