Monday, April 30, 2007

The Spirit of working

When I was in Japan, I was struck by the pride that people took in their work. In Singapore we seem to be obsessed with idols and millionaires. We are either at the top or we just working stiffs doing what it needs to collect to paycheck.

I have already introduced the tempura chef, who apprenticed for years and then worked for several more before getting any real money. He owns a small shop in Tokyo that most people in the world will never know. But he is an artist who works daily to understand his ingredients and how to bring out the best flavours in them. He shows his ingredients respect and loves his work. He has a small clientele, but an appreciative one.

As a photographer, I think that an obsession with fame and fortune is unhealthy. There is a focus on what is necessary to garner attention, but the resulting work tends to lack depth. And then there are photographers who arrive because they have become known and become complacent.

I think as a photographer (or you can substitute any artistic career here), one should gain satisfaction from the act of photography. The real reward comes from continual practise and study. I think of my photography like a travelling samurai, constantly practising, honing one's skill and challenging stronger opponents. And there is a code of honour. And there is a celebration of life, where the ultimate skill is to have not drawn the sword, but settle a dispute through negotiation.

Each day I try and learn more about being alive in this world we inhabit. And I try in my images to bring out the experience of life, as a prompt to other people to live their lives fully. The work does not necessarily have a huge commercial potential. But I know that a small group of people really appreciate it and in a handful of cases it has inspired people enough to mold their lives. And can inspiring people to work hard and live life well be bad?

When one lives to walk the chosen path, instead of working to pay the bills and take a holiday, the effort and struggle simply become part of the process. There is no instant fame and fortune. Our lives will be like a stream, slowly creating smooth rocks from jagged ones.

1 comment:

Kerpalz said...

Hi NH, i'm always inspired by your works. i agree with you have said.
But as for me, its just too much of the "montage & Debt" issue which made me become more of a businessman than photographer. once again... thanks for inspiring my life again. :)
You Rock Dude!