OBSESSIONS: Kamay at Paa


Ja Turla

What is your unique obsession to photograph?

Rummaging through my old film photographs, I didn’t know I had a penchant for hands and feet. I gained a new and more personal perception on the concept of obsession when I took time paying more attention to my shots. I always thought obsession is only an intense liking for something and that what prolong it are the persistence and awareness that come with it. But the experience of sifting through my photographs (which I don’t do regularly) showed me another angle of obsession: Sometimes you are not aware of it. It just unfolds and lingers without you noticing it. It isn’t too much of a surprise for me that my recurrent subjects were hands and feet but it’s unexpected nonetheless because I took a little more pride in other photographs I captured back then.

Why? What draws you to it? or what's the history behind why you find yourself obsessed with it.

Now that I learned of this obsession, I think the dynamic movement and form of both hands and feet were what drew me to a somewhat accidental yet sustained liking.  Both parts of the body can be rigid or soft; can look awkward or comfortable; and can appear indifferent or mischievous. The texture of hands and feet also gives personalities to the anonymous subjects. They’re faceless in the photographs but they can still be known and felt through these parts.

Do you show this work to people? How do they generally react?

I don’t usually show my film photographs to people. My friends and acquaintances are only used to seeing my conceptual and surreal photographs captured digitally. I did show these but I didn’t pay much attention to the general reaction of the public. I guess I have yet to know what they think when they come across this.

What sort of satisfaction do you get in nailing the perfect shot?

Shooting on film allows me to pause and clash with my indecisiveness. Careful attention to basic elements of a composition can become tedious especially that you have limited shots. There is a sense of pleasure going on every time I see my images after a long wait from the processing part. I don’t believe in perfection but I believe in the good. If you think a photograph pushes you, shakes you and makes you think in a certain way, it’s good.

What advice can you give anyone who finds themselves uninspired in photography?

Don’t force and shove inspiration down your throat. They say put yourself in the mood, but I think it is only applicable to people that urgently need inspiration to shoot (commercial photographers, for instance). For me, forcing something that isn’t ready yet can bring about half-baked results. It will come. Never wait for it. Instead, prepare for it. 

Follow Ja Turla on Instagram! @ispiho

OBSESSIONS is a new blog series from Film Folk that likes to talk about what subjects people love to shoot. If you want to feature your current obsession, shoot us an e-mail at filmfolk@satchmi.com.

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