Saturday, August 06, 2005

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

My father recently let me read the text of a speech given by Steve Jobs to the students of
Stanford University. It can be found here .

Steve Jobs was a college drop out but is now one of the most influential people on the planet. He followed his guts and his instincts.

I have been going through a tough time in my personal life but this blog has never been the forum for me to vent my frustrations. However, I realise that my vision for my own work is very important and sometimes personal life can get in the way.

Sometimes people think that they are helping you. I remember several prominent people who upon learning that I have a Phd. in engineering telling me to return to engineering and take photography as a hobby! Well-meaning people are not you, they cannot understand your needs as a creative person. Look at Vincent Van Gogh, who died a pauper but who is now considered a genius.

No, I am not saying that I am a genius. All I am saying is that I have work in me that needs to get out. It is not something that I decided but something that found me. I have images in me that need to get out and they are more important to me than being rich or successful. It will be nice if people liked my work and paid me loads of money for them but that is also immaterial. I think that there may not be an audience for my photographic work in Singapore, but I need to do it anyway.

It is impossible to explain to people who have not created things with their own will. Creating something need not be on the scale of Picasso or Richard Avedon. Creation can be as simple as creating a space to call home. For me, creation is making photographic images. When an image comes together and takes on a life of its own, it affirms the wonder of living. It shows what is possible from nothing.

The images that are struggling to come out of me cannot be pacified by other images, images with which I make a living and pay my bills. These images cannot be pacified with half efforts, either the picture is made with all my effort or not at all. These images cannot be made in haste. These images cannot be made by someone else, they can only be made by me. I don't know why but this is the way it is. These images may be nothing to other people, but they will be like children to me.

People want to give others advice and help. For a person on a personal journey like me, advice and help can be a hinderance. Going back to a 'normal' job is a death in its own right. Not having the personal space to create new work is like being put in prison. Living poor with your own creations is still living.

Not everyone can be as successful as Steve Jobs. But if we all follow our hearts, our visions, we can live. Maybe we won't be rich, but we will know that we have fought the good fight.

Like Steve Jobs said, 'Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.'


töes said...

That is a really good read. Thanks for sharing.

Hope all is well with you. =)


eadwine said...

welcome home heng... i know the journey awaits u and i've always felt there was something more in you we can expect other than just wedding photos.

s tsui said...

I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties in your personal life. We've been extremely lucky to have had the chance to work with you on our wedding photos, and we've always known that you'll be doing something much greater. Ibrahim Ferrer, the BVSC singer and a subject of your photography in the past, has just passed away. Carpe diem.

p.s. I was also deeply moved by the Jobs speech! and posted it on my blog. :P