My Inner Vision Workshop Experience with Tilak Hettige

My last photography workshop in Manila was with world-reknowned photographer Tilak Hettige.  I flew to manila not knowing the workshop was cancelled and had to beg the Philippine Creative Center of Imaging to push through with the activity as I had flown from the south just for it.  Fortunately, Tilak Hettige agreed to do the workshop and thus, I became his 42nd Class in Inner Vision.

The workshop attracted  me because it did not focus on the technical side of photography but rather it spoke of cultivating a different perspective in photographing the mundane. By mundane, I mean, the everyday activities and objects that we encounter and almost always ignore because of their availability.

As a philosophy graduate, I’ve always been fascinated in observing other people’s thoughts and reasoning which resulted in a hobby of people watching.  The curse of philosophy (as we said in school) is that you are never satisfied with the answers you get.  Four years of hearing your professors asking “why” on everything has its effects and one of them is developing this need to find that which you do not know because it seems what you know now is not enough.  So when I saw the description of the Inner Vision Workshop, I immediately recognized that this one stands unique amongst the others.  It’s not just photography, it is philosophy as well.  Perfect.  I find Tilak Hettige is doing it.  Jackpot.

What a perfect opportunity for me to take a peek into the mind of one of the best photographers in the world.  A teacher cannot teach a student without imparting part of his soul.  And for days, I soaked in Hettige’s ideas, interest, expertise and curiosities.  I listened to his stories, insights, and opinions while I silently looked at his photographs slowly learning his photography signatures.

Whenever he would play clips of his works, I would imagine the man with his camera crouching, waiting like a predator for his prey.  But I learned that he is swift in his captures and is capable of taking a series of perfect art photographs in a few minutes given the perfect moment.  He is patient and can easily comprehend patterns.  This trait is evident in his Saffron Robes: A Photographic Essay on Buddhist Monks where he traveled to 14 different countries to capture its history and significance. Despite his expertise and fame, he still retains this childlike wonder on everything.

He makes you think, he asks you to imagine.  He does not dole out information and techniques but rather he allows you to discover them.  It reminded me of one philosophy class where we only tackled three articles for the whole semester.  It was a semester where, for weeks, I had to read an article over and over again because my professor gave us two questions that we cannot answer.  How I hated not having solved it at the end of every class.  He never answered it but I finished the course a better student.  Because the objective of the class was not the answer but the cultivation of being able to look for one.  Answers do not matter if you are asking the wrong questions.  And that is what Inner Vision is all about.

I am lucky to have had this workshop before I take my leave to study in Hong Kong for my MA in Photography.  I am not sure how many of my classmates have had this type of learning.  All I know is, all the begging was worth it (–and yeah, i have to learn how to use a tripod!)

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Inner Vision Project | Infanta, Quezon

 

8 Responses

  1. tim December 17, 2011 / 11:18 pm

    wow, first ’twas Nigel- now it’s Tilak, really lucky to met these famous photographer. Goodluck
    sa imung HK Ley.

    • 13thWiTCH December 17, 2011 / 11:29 pm

      thank you tim. I was lucky he agreed to do the workshop even if i was the only student. normally he would do it for a minimum of ten participants. Fate smiled on me on this one! and I am free next week for you. ill pm you my new number for your sched — time for you to shine :)

  2. Minks December 18, 2011 / 5:07 am

    Speechless ako teh… :)

    • 13thWiTCH December 18, 2011 / 5:11 am

      kuyawa og comment oi. jam kaayo bai. haha

  3. Minks December 18, 2011 / 5:29 am

    Hahaha adik!!!.. tinoud nho ask pa si chloe.. :) kahilak ko ug lalo ko na amaze sa imuha :)

    • 13thWiTCH December 18, 2011 / 8:05 am

      awww ^.^ thanks. sa mahulga lang ^.^ musta naman si chloe, magpa color daw si girlieanne tom — naibog sa inyong new look!

  4. Gerry Val Genabe December 19, 2011 / 11:28 am

    I love the concept. Help me try this soon!

    • 13thWiTCH December 19, 2011 / 3:29 pm

      you should try it val! they have an upcoming one this Feb! you can start by registering at PCCI for that workshop!

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