Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My Crew

I feel very fortunate to have a solid team at The Pond at the moment. People have been asking me about them. I think they can speak for themselves.

Shin Lim is my studio manager and first assistant. Her own web site is at She has won a Lucie for one of her nudes.

Anvin is my digital assistant. He has worked for two commercial still life photographers before coming to my studio. His work can be seen here.

My office manager is Abby Chua. She used to work for Memphiswest and is the person that keeps the team running.

The year started slowly but it has been crazy since Chinese New Year. This team rocks. I hope to have enough work to keep them for a while.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cold Wear

I have seen this in Parkway Parade many times but did not have my camera. This time I did. Just what should I be wearing in the cold?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Paolo Roversi

If you know me, you know I love Paolo Roversi's photography. He is known for his work on large format 8x10 polaroids. For over a year I was waiting for his web site to be ready. And it seems it is finally here.

And more of his work can be found here.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sam Haskins

Thanks for the support of my blog readers. I must admit that not all my photographic heroes are long suffering artistes. Sam Haskins is a master that changed the world of nude photography with his book, 'The adventures of Cowboy Kate'. :) The book has just be republished and I am awaiting shipment of my copy from Amazon. And I think Sam Haskins enjoys life and creates beautiful images too. WooHoo.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Jan Sudek

I was recently shown the work of Jan Sudek He is in his eighties and has been working with textures in his photographs for the longest time. It was humbling seeing what I have been aiming for in my images so well done and done so much earlier. I love so many of the Eastern European photographers whose work grace altphotos. I have a feeling that Sudek was the trailblazer. Honestly, I have been feeling recently completely overwhelmed with the drudgery of doing things properly, and completely underwhelmed by the results of my efforts. On Sudek's web site, you get to read about his life, about his ups and downs and the drudgery and the fact that he attempted suicide. The road is not easier for any of us. I wonder how to maintain my sanity.

Duane Michals

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Porcelain Chinese Nude with a large Cock

The residents of a local herbal dessert restaurant on Lian Seah Street showing off their vibrant selves.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Contact Press Images: 30 years of Excellence

This article in Digital Journalist covering the Contact Press agency is really moving. So many heart wrenching images and somehow it is so sad when we humans keep right on making the same old horrible mistakes.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Total Photographer - The Necessary Support


I have talked a lot about being a photographer and pursuing a personal vision. There are other things that are important, that in the course of photography we have to pay attention to.

1. We have to be organised and make the process of photography and maintaining our images efficient

Perhaps it is because I am a commercial photographer, I think a lot about the process of photography. And it starts with client management and ends with delivery to the client and collection of payment. There is a paper trail over the whole process which enables me to quickly plan a shoot, manage logistics, document the technical details and fault find issues. When I first started my business, I had no business plan, no MBA. A friend's father who runs his own business told me to have a job sheet for each job. Although the job sheet has evolved from an all encompassing job overview to a financial overview now, the idea of documenting the process stuck in my mind. For a commercial job, I have
a. A job sheet to document the incomings and outgoings
b. A quote for the client to sign which forms an agreement between the client and myself
c. An equipment checklist that my assistant gets to prepare for the shoot
d. A tech log which records the equipment used and the exposures in an image. There is a diagram of the set layout so that I can reconstruct a shoot if I want to.
e. A digital log which tracks my digital images from camera to computer and all the renaming, metadata input and post processing.
f. An invoice
g. A receipt of what is delivered to a client.

Like I said, the documents I have help me plan a shoot and then examine how the shoot was executed. Although such detail documentation is more beneficial to a commercial photographer, it would help any photographer think about a checklist of equipment and some record of how the shoot was executed. For the commercial photographer, spreadsheets for costing and the quoting a shoot and then spreadsheets for profit analysis is useful for understanding how your photographic business runs.

I have recently blogged about Iview Media Pro. And now I also believe that managing your photographs as assests, will enable the photographer to 1. gain financial leverage from the archives and 2. review and learn from one's past work. This also takes some thought and organisation. How are images, both digital and film, stored. How are the images named and what metadata do they carry? What program for cataloging is suitable for your needs. For a larger company of commercial photographers, Iview Media may not have the networking muscle but it is overkill for an amateur photographer who mainly takes holiday snaps.

Once the organisation is done and past photographs are easily accessible, one can easily find images for sale to individuals or stock. One can also group images for tailored portfolios or for creating an exhibition. Doing this with files of negatives or a hard drive of un-organised images is unproductive.

2. We have to promote ourselves, find our audience and a way of reaching out to them.

Whether you are a commercial photographer or fine art photographer, whether you are a professional full time photographer or an enthusiastic amateur, we have to show our images to other people. And depending on what type of photography we do, the options open to us differ. As a commercial photographer in weddings, there are wedding portals, trade magazines and wedding shows that the wedding photographer must advertise in. A commercial photographer will need to have a portfolio to show advertising agencies, magazines and other clients. A fine art photographer, will need to organise exhibitions of work and find gallery representation. The amateur can join photographic clubs, enter competitions or join online communities like Flickr.

I think that the internet has opened up a lot of opportunities for photographers to get their work viewed. It has also made the competition much harder as we now will be competing against photographers from all over the world. In that we can present our work next to award winning American and European photographers is great. But for us to get anywhere, we have to raise our standards to those of international photographers. A real challenge but an exciting one.

3. We have to keep renewing ourselves and our work, and sometimes this means taking time off from photography. We need to live a balanced and engaged life, which will reflect back in our photography.

To me photography is a creative process. And it is a journey, not a destination. I think when we start photography, a lot of us go through a technical phase. One where we learn about the f-stops, camera capabilities and lighting equipment. And to a certain extent, it is an ongoing endeavour. But it is also so important to understand what we want to say with our images. In fact, it is important to try and say something with our images that goes beyond the mere documentation of a scene. We need to experience life, find something worthwhile to say with our images. And then we need to understand the emotional impact of our photographic practises and tailor those photographic practises to our message.

Sometimes, taking a break from photography and engaging with life, friends and family, is just as important as photography itself. What is the use of perfect technique, if it serves to say nothing.

The Global Warming issue

Dear friends,

Check out this new video about climate change.

While you are there please take a minute to sign the petition urging world leaders to wake up to this problem and take bold action to solve the climate crisis now.


Hot iPod Models, Looking Stupid - Gizmodo

Hot iPod Models, Looking Stupid - Gizmodo

It really gets hilarious when sex is used to sell everything. The comments on Gizmodo is spot on and hilarious.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


This article in Gizmodo is making me weak in the knees.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Iviewmedia Pro

The exercise to archive and catalog my images has been going of for more than a year now. It started before I took my sabbatical last year. It has been a long arduous journey. However, last week, all my personal work for the last two years were uploaded to network storage drives and cataloged with Iviewmedia Pro. I have had the programme for over a year but this was the first time I had a substantial amount of images cataloged.

I must say that it was a pleasant surprise for me. It was quite a kick seeing all the photographs that I have taken from simple digital capture to my latest personal projects. The catalog previews were fast. And I was able to start creating sets for my portfolio and other catergorizations. I was worried that the learning curve would be steep, but after making a few decisions on how previews should be made, the rest of the Iviewmedia Pro is quite intuitive. In fact, I was able to pick out some duplicated files immediately.

Although Iviewmedia Pro is not an essential tool to have as a photographer. I realised how useful such a cataloging tool can be in maintaining portfolio sets and organising images for tasks like exhibition planning and reviewing one's photographic progress.

As important as photography is to a photographer, that is not the end all and be all. Organisation and a will to review one's work enables the photographer to have a deeper understanding of his or her own strengths and weaknesses. With respect to this, a cataloging tool is very useful, if not essential.