Sunday, May 22, 2011


I guess the title today speaks for itself. Wikipedia states that these rodents "are particularly known for their long periods of hibernation."

Its been nearly a year since I moved to the big city of Kuala Lumpur to seek experience as a photographer. In one sense, I've succeeded. I know more Photoshop, have some experience in shooting various events (ranging from corporate functions to kindergarten concerts) and selling cameras. Of course, there's a whole photography world out there that I'm yet to know.

Unfortunately in this period of time, my passion in photography has declined so much so that its hard for me to take a picture.. any picture except for job requirements. I was recently at a park near Paramount Garden LRT. There was a whole scene of life unfolding before me - seniors doing tai chii, kids jogging with their parents, some men fishing. But there was no desire at all to capture what was in front of me. I let it all pass by.
In fact, I have been letting the world pass by for too long. My peers have succeeded in the careers and some have already settled down. My photography buddies revel in the fact that they can go for outings and do model shoots as they like while I have to work on weekends (Yes, I'm working tomorrow in fact).

But where can I move on to? I don't know yet. Or rather, I'm not looking hard enough.

I recently had an interview at a medium sized commercial photography studio. After handing my paltry portfolio to be looked at by one of the directors, I wasn't surprised when he said nothing really impressed him. After all, he's been there and done that. After studying photography in Australia, he went on to work in US for quite some time before returning to KL.

He posed me some very important questions. Among them - "Can you handle the pressure working in a stressful environment under tight deadlines?". The working hours can vary greatly. Sometimes I may be working several days in a row with 3 hours of sleep, or go to work at an ungodly 2am to prepare for a sunrise shoot. Its all part of the job anyway. (Hmm.. this is beginning to sound like a doctor's work schedule, or some underpaid, overworked workers in neighboring Singapore).

I wasn't afraid to admit that I know close to zero regarding commercial photography. After all, what I've learnt so far is nothing compared to what others are doing. In the studio, I only know the concept of two studio lights at even power. Its frankly boring, flat lighting. Nothing compared to the gadgets that commercial studio has - huge octabanks, strip lights, Elinchrom power packs. And no... they're not some cheapo China brand - they're Broncolor, Elinchroms. Not to mention the cameras. Are you complaining that your D700 or 5DmkII is pricy? Consider the Hasselblads or the Mamiyas - one of the latest bodies cost at least RM100k!

The director tried to be as encouraging as possible, but at the end of the day, he asked me to prepare myself for what lies ahead if I was really serious about his offer. "You're frankly too young to understand all of this. I don't blame you though, because I went through this before". Well, what a bummer to hear that as a photography enthusiast for the last 4 years while even owning a pro series SLR :(. Time to eat humble pie.

I've been hibernating like the dormice for way too long. While I'm in my little shell, the world has moved on. Times are getting tough. I have to motivate myself to move on, and go further than what I can see with my 2 humble eyes. I love being a photographer, but I do not like where I am now.

During the past month, I've done some reading. Of some interest to me was a book written by Pastor Kenneth Chin of Acts Church Subang Jaya, entitled "Chin Up". It was amazing to read how God came through for him, his family and ministry in times of dire need. But God isn't a God of Blessings all the time. Ps Chin, like all of us had his tough times too. If I was in his shoes, I may have given up. But in spite of everything, he managed to pull through. Of course, his mid life biography is only possible after all the good and bad experiences that he has encountered.

Will I still be a photographer 20 years, or even 30 years from now? I don't know, but I hope my patience and hope will continue to bring me forward. I'm quite lost now. As they say, "God can't help you unless you help yourself."




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