Giving Out More

I got to quickly share this two wonderful things i did the other day.

First wonderful thing

I have been visiting this printer vendor for over a decade, this vendor print very excellent photos in my opinion. It has never once disappointed me. The other day i was thinking about my time with them, besides the usual words of “thank you”. I have never thought of more. If am only focusing on my needs, i may think that giving more is expected to be unfair.

I wanted to print some pictures for a logistic client as a gift. I visited my vendor, sent in the digital files, made my way out to run other errands before picking up the prints later. Because i really appreciate their effort in making such great prints each time, and i can be a difficult customer sometimes. Suddenly i have this thought of getting something nice for my vendor, i truly appreciate their patience and to meet my demand. Perhaps a pastry? I guess no girls hate pastry from what i know so far.  I decided to get them this 2 huge delicious cream puff after contemplating. I know of a popular pastry cafe no too far away as well.

Later in the afternoon when i headed back to the shop, i saw one of the ladies was eating instant cup noodles. I said “Why are you eating cup noodles?” i thought the timing was perfect, i immediately took out the box of cream puffs and put it on the table for them. I was delighted to see how happy she was.

Second wonderful thing

My previous blog mention about logistic photography for an overseas client. 2 months down the road, the local client i shot for, we struck another business deal. Luckily is a less painful negotiation. I offer them free usage rights, the director of the company purchased 30 images, i help to select some photos for their business usages to meet the numbers, i also put in 2 free images, a total of 32 images. I was paid very quickly in the following week. Both parties are happy with the final deal. Everyone loves a win-win.

So, i wanted to do more than what is required. I wanted to go the extra mile. One of the reason is i really appreciate the staffs came back on a public holiday for the photo shoot due to operation reason. Also, the director of the company was open and accommodating to my ideas during the pre-shoot discussion. So, whoever staffs i work with on the day of the photo shoot, i wanted to make sure each of them received a copy of a print.

After i received the prints, i put the director’s picture in my limited edition 5R photo frame. Put it in a nice gift box, put in the remaining 4R prints for each staff. Straight away i headed off to the company, without fixing an appointment with the director, because my intention was to pass the gift box to her staff and head off for my next schedule. Later the director dropped me a message, mentioning that i beat her to it because she wanted to print out the photos as well. And she even mentioned i chosen her favorite picture, great mind thinks alike.

Regardless of vendor or client, i have exceeded myself a little bit more. If they feel good or happy about it, so am i.

Rather than focusing on how to get more, focus on how to give more. 

Cause & Effect of a Photographer

CAUSE

#1 I love the action of physically holding a camera to take pictures for my enjoyment, whether is work or personal. The free will to create pictures in whichever way i want is a self-expression of what i wish to create for my personal work. This is something that i remain passionate about after more than 10 years.

#2 When i take pictures for work, it is a professional service to offer client’s picture solution. I believe there are at least thousand of client out there, lots of opportunities in this world that requires quality pictures, the usage of the image are mainly for the company material for whichever reasons. The fun part of this job is i always get to visit different venues that are not accessible to the public, example i can embark on an oil vessel, lift up by a boom lift to have a bird’s eye view, access to high tech area, and even speak to different people. How cool is that!

#3 I have flexible hours to work on personal pictures, personal work gives me more of a therapy treatment. I feel at peace and calm. Even more, freedom. No brief to abide, I can do whatever i want with a sense of the next big adventure. To be an artist, creating my breed of art.

EFFECT

#1 I hate marketing, i was never trained in marketing when i started out as a photographer. It took me too many painful years to learn the rope. Pure dry work. I wonder is there anyone out there truly love marketing as a job?

#2 Am a lone ranger out there in the world of chaotic society, am running on a sole-proprietorship. My “office” is wherever there are excellent Wi-Fi connection and a quiet environment. If not at home editing client’s pictures. I got no one to share with about generating new ideas. Honestly am bored to death been alone. I become an introvert and extrovert.

#3 I only get paid when am been hired. Very sadly been a freelancer. I got no health benefit, no year-end bonus, no product discount, no annual company dinner, no company trip.

#4 Client don’t stay forever, people are moving around frequently for better pay job. I find it tough to maintain a relationship with most of my clients. For example, if a company change boss, is a 50% chance i will get “fire”.

Don’t see my effect as a complain. The reality is what it is. There will always be room for improvement.

My pain and pleasure sum it all above for now.

Thanks for reading and do comment.

Featuring Singapore ‘Hidden Door’

Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ is featured once again, this time in India. An editor of Colour Quotient from Asian Paints wanted an interview of my personal work and feature some of the ‘Hidden Doors‘ series. I was more than happy to grant his request and assist whatever is needed to support.

Featured articles

– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in 畅游行, Singapore first Mandarin travel magazine
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in ArchDaily, with more than 10 million viewers internationally
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in Lonely Planet Travel News
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in 42 magazin, an online magazine in Siberia
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in Metro daily newspaper at Russia with 1.9 million readers
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in Nine Australia
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in Asian Paints, Colour Quotient

Singapore Chinese Guardian Lions

The Chinese guardian lion or Chinese stone lions is a unique animal to the Chinese’s tradition since the Han Dynasty. A pair of stone lions, male and female can be often seen in front of the Chinese imperial palaces, imperial tombs, temples during the pre-modern China.

The positioning of the male lion is on the left with his right paw resting on a ball, and the female on the right with her left paw fondling a cub. The lion was regarded as the king in animal kingdom, representing power and prestige. These stone lions were believed to have powerful mythic protective benefits.

In today modern society country, such as Singapore. These lions also stood in front of shops, private residences, restaurant, high-rise building, offices and so on. With one lion sitting on each side of the entrance.

The “Chinese Guardian Lions” will be shared concurrently with viewers rather than waiting for the whole project to end. Am curious to see what are the interesting “lions” i can capture, and perhaps an interesting story.

Photography Art

When i told people my occupation. They said:”Oh you are an artist, that’s nice.” I was always dumbfounded by their replied, felt kinda of unnatural each time. Because i never thought myself as an artist. For some time, i can’t clearly define what does Art mean. I usually see myself as a commercial photographer or a business person, wanting to  provide unique value picture solution for companies around the globe.

In my personal opinion. Art has various form of interpretation. Let’s just focus on photography practice. If you asked me what is photography art. I think it like a visual absorption feast. Is about individual pair of eye get to notice the scene at that point of time or moment, using photography medium to capture it.

Everyone sees things differently, have different way of analysing information. That is why i think the topic of Art is always subjective. The debate/discussion of photography art is not necessary about technical aspect of the execution; aesthetic plays a major role as well. How Art is perceived also depends on the human’s emotion in that moment of connection.

Now as i write, i reflect. I think Art cannot please everyone. But if my photography Art work able to evoke someone’s emotion and interest. I think that is consider a successful piece of Art work (photograph), even if only take a person to admire it.

We all may see a same visual but each mind has a different perception/opinion. For example, put a group of photographers to shoot a vase in a decorated room, each photographer will produce different beautiful picture through their own interpretation. No two pictures will be the same.

How i think now may not be the way i reflect about Art in future. Is still a learning process for me, as i continue to grow, i believe i will find more deeper meaning in Art.

Singapore Trains

Singapore Trains series was a sudden burst of idea in a afternoon back in Dec 2016, i thought how a single scene with multiple tracks with each train running on it designated route look like? Honestly i was also sort of inspired by Stephen Wilkes day to night series.  I ever read online that mentioned, don’t look at other artist’s work to be creative, be original. Is like indirectly stealing visual for your own usage. I beg to differ, for me i require good visual to inspire myself to come out with my own original idea.



The 2 images above are made in Jurong East. The first round was doing scouting, sniffing out possible positions and the type of composition. The next trip was to bring my gears and returned to the spot where i will be executing the shot. I know most people don’t do scouting at all, they lug their entire gears along and start to trigger immediately. Personally there is nothing wrong with it; however scouting allows me to be more visually focus, fix the scene in my mind, ample time to better understand my surrounding as well, pre-determine what are the right gears to prepare. That is my type of preparation before any commercial shoot. For this case, personal work.

There are not many train tracks in Singapore that has more than two train tracks side by side. Much time were burnt on scouting of the location, checking out map and random train pictures from online. When the actual shoot took place for that day, i only hope for the best weather after studying the weather forecast, before that i even monitor the daily weather to see if there is a same pattern. The above two images are made in Choa Chu Kang area.

As the saying goes: “the more you practice, the better you will get.” After making  mistakes and keep on improve from it. The next shoot will always be in less difficulty, mistakes allows me to gain the experience that book never teach you. Bear in mind no 2 shoot is ever the same. That is why the experience built up is more than ever important to handle new challenge. The above image is made in Punggol area.

Tarot card reader from Bangkok reuse my picture for FREE!!!

Seven years ago, i visited Bangkok for a personal photo trip. I took many travel scenery and street portraits that caught my interest. As i am the type of photographer who would approach the person for permission rather than been sneaky behind or using a super long lens to snap a picture of someone without their acknowledgement. It just been me, i like interaction, i like people who have eye contact with my camera for street portrait.

I was in the famous Chatuchak market at Bangkok, roaming around there for the first time. I caught sight of a tarot card reader who looks very interesting with her table set up and dressing, i approached her for a picture, she was speaking in half broken English which i struggle to understand. She gave me her card and i promised to send her a file.

Here is the actual portrait picture i took of her.

Recently, i saw her on Facebook, and realised she was using the picture i took of her to advertise herself. Apparently she seems quite famous in the tarot industry.

Check out her tarot service if you are in Bangkok. ^^

Now, you may be thinking am i going to be mad about it? She’s taking advantage of a photographer who took her picture and ended up using it for her advertising materials; which she did not paid a single cent for it. I know many pros out there would be fuming if such things happen.

In another angle, i kinda of appreciate her cause of action, at least i know this picture i capture was worthy. Her action speaks the truth. Ya i would love to get pay, but these was no agreement for any remuneration. I would at least love to be credited by her, but is all right. As long she is happy, i am happy. But that doesn’t mean you can email me to take free pictures for you all right. ;]

P.S. Feel free to check out my street portraits as well.