Thursday, September 29, 2016

Fakhroid Muse…

Well, schools are back here and traffic jams as well of course. The typical "normal" life I usually lead is here. What is not normal for me now is the fact that I'm not traveling this year anywhere. No plans so far.
My friends urged me to follow them to Germany for Photokina event (even if not from the very first day of the opening) but anyway I couldn't just skip everything on my shoulders and fly away; beside the budget that I'm trying to manage. According to news, our club did pretty well and the most astonishing part is the fact that we are the first "club" to participate in the history of the expo, and the first Arabian party to participate as well! Unfortunately, I don't have a proper coverage to post right now but I might try to get some for later.
Meanwhile, after ensuring that everything is going fine with the group, I asked for pardon from the founder to withdraw for a while from all the activities in the group, mainly to touch my camera more and create something.


My hands and mind are eager to work with some panorama, but the lack of locations in mind still put a block on my way. To find some rest, I decided to try to work on something at home and try hard to push my imagination further. For this reason, I've started to attend the theaters for a while, but the most significant effect took place via music, and specifically, Arabic classical music.

I've been fascinated lately with his voice: Sabáħ Fakhry [صباح فخري]. Even though I do remember watching him on TV when I was just a kid but I wasn't much into this art back then of course, and my mentality had changed drastically since then of course. His voice and the lyrics of the Syrian folk songs as well as the traditional classical Arabic Mowaššaħát do make a mesmerizing mix; specially the song posted above, with the title Send Me A Letter. I will type the lyrics at the end of this post if dear non-Arab reader wishes to know what the song is about.
Listening to Sabáħ would eventually form some ideas and created a sort of muse inside my head, but still lot of work is required to perfect this sense. My first trial is sloppy but I will post it here anyway, since this is all I could do for now; and probably I will try to make it better next time if I get any new "museful" input! 

إن كنت هويت ونسيتني
(if you have loved and forgot about me)
Sigma 70-300mm @120mm, 250-1sec, f/29, ISO100
In the beginning, I was thinking of something with a romantic look, but my mind doesn't wander much into that arena. I wanted to point out a break of heart, some emotional breakdown of some sort, and after doing some tiny brainstorming, I arrived at the idea of reflecting a line from the lyrics off a broken mirror; the envelopes and drops of color (mimicking blood) came out later to fill some of the emptiness which was abundant around the writing. The hard time was delivered for breaking the mirror, placing the mirror, and placing the speedlite properly.
I decided to work here with my converted camera, and with a calibration from the WB disk, the colors were almost back to normal (some bits of color fixing was required later). The shot above is in fact a tone-mapped HDR slide, which after all, probably, wouldn't differ much from editing a single RAW file in a proper manner, but it was an experiment I loved to make. Later on, it was time to take "real" Infrared shots with this converted Canon EOS 7D…

 (IR) إن كنت هويت ونسيتني
(if you have loved and forgot about me)
Sigma 70-300mm @120mm, 250-1sec, f/11, ISO100

Now, because of applying the infrared filter on the Sigma lens, I had to decrease the f-number a bit to allow more light in and make the exposure faster (even though the camera was on tripod). The fact that the camera is converted would still, at such high f-number such as f/29, require a second or so for exposing with the infrared filter on (threshold=650nm). The drop in the f-number proved drastic in terms of depth of field here as the envelopes and the cracks as well got blurred quite easily while focusing (using AF function) on the reflection of the writing itself. Processing the image later was quite easy but fixing the tilt (unlike the first version) made some out-of-ratio crop (i.e. 3:2) and produced quite a space on the left side. The first image was cropped as well but according to the ratio (3:2) and the tilt was not fixed there.
Now, generally speaking, it was sloppy idea as I said before and I had some imagination for it to be taken with a candle and some quill and ink. However, seems, to me, that such depiction is quite "soft" and doesn't reflect the meanings behind a broken heart.

Listening again and again to Sabáħ Fakhry has some hallucinating effect to my mind, if I dare say. For my break from the group's activity, I'm thinking of getting inspired constantly from his songs (though lot of them are actually traditional and Syrian folk). Thus, I might as well continue to think of something to create out of the lyrics of his songs, or at least the first song posted above. Sounds weird that despite the fact that I'm an Arab, I'm indeed discovering my own culture like I've never seen it before, and even deeper a bit to the limit of reading about Arabic musical culture and Maqams, beside calligraphy (which is a passion as well). Sad to realize that we have a rich culture, abandoned by its people…


Well, I won't go strolling about life matters for now and all my ups and downs and mood swings. As I've mentioned above, I'm going to put the lyrics for the song above (first Youtube post). The language is colloquial Syrian Arabic, and in translating I'll try to stick to the meaning as much as possible (and of course no rhyme). Notice that some lines and verses are repeated all over and over again and that's why one song takes such a long time. Each repetition is supposedly done in a different vocal style or Maqam. The lyrics are as the following (but without an order of stanzas or lines):

Send me a letter and let me rest*
if though it is a blame
but don't abandon me

Your absence has been long
and I'm waiting
and your heart is in rejoice

If you have loved
and forgot about me
and been cruel to me
without consideration
Just send me a letter
and let me rest*

Been patience with you
and tasted bitterness
and sent to you news and news
just to find that
you have forgot about me
along the days
and you were satisfied
to let me through the pains
but send me a letter and let me rest*

I have a God who knows me well
Who will bring justice
for the heat of my sighs
I cannot say you are the culprit
I'll be patient with my sorrows always
just send me a letter and let me rest*
* "rest" as opposite to worrying about something or someone.

Well, I hope dear reader enjoyed some of the music for this post. I'll just hope that I'll create more work and get inspired more to work on some of these projects!

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