Monday, April 03, 2006

The Path alone

While in a foreign city, I have been fortunate to stay in touch with people in various countries using messenger. I guess I know a lot of people trying their best to follow their dreams and find their own path.

I am fortunate to be able to pursue my own path without financial worries. And in an ideal world, the photography that I do is its own reward. So when I tell people to follow their dreams, I usually hear a 'but...'

I got to be honest with everyone, even with the cards stacked in my favour, there are moments of doubt, there is fear.

The truth is we do what we do, and especially in the an 'artistic' pursuit, there is no garuntee that there will be be an audience for our work, let alone a paying audience. And even if we do find some success, it is only short-lived. In the arts, we are literally only as good as our last piece of work. It is not like we invented a bottle-cap or the ipod and just watch the royalties roll in while sunbathing on some beach. Even if we are successful, we will continue to struggle, to strive to find a way to grow in our work. And it is in the nature of our growth and change that some of our supporters will be dismayed, some of our previous detractors will be won over. All this while, most people, whether they like your work or not, are going to try and get as much out of us for the least amount of money.

As great as the photographic experience is for me in Chicago, it is at times cold, at times lonely and at times plain foreign to me. Even though I find the Chicago people to be some of the nicest and most straightforward in the United States. So why am I here? Why am I giving up the tropical warmth and the oh so familiar surroundings of Singapore? Why the hell am I struggling to be a photographer and not just working for an electronics company in Singapore?

I guess that a card which I bought in a bookshop sums up the reason why nicely,

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. EXPLORE. DREAM. DISCOVER.

I dream of images that reach into the soul of my subjects. I need to bring those dreams to life.

4 comments:

Mike said...

I have been following your blog for quite a while. I'm just writing to say Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Heng said...

Hi Mike, you're welcome. I wanted to share the journey as a photographer. I get a bit sick when people think that photography is simply a technical passtime.

wansheng said...

i think my boss is trying to help me make a decision...:(

maybe i should just do photography full time and try to invent something like ipod during my spare time instead:P

*u can tell from this that i'm pretty stressed out*

Heng said...

Things always happen for a reason. :)

Someone on set today mentioned that if someone could build a panel that would tell a photographer that his powerpacks were charged and ready to shoot again, it would be really good.

I have other ideas too. :) Want to start a busines selling photographic goods?