Sunday, April 27, 2008

PDN Annual and Fotoseptiembre

My dance photography is continuing to bring me luck. My work for the Keppel Corporation calendar has been accepted into the Photo District News Annual under corporate work. The PDN Annual will be published in May. I have to thank Ian Foo, the designer that did such a great job with the layout.

And also some of my images of Sakura and Zhou Lin, have been accepted into the Fotoseptiembre Photo Festival in San Antonio, Texas.

I get this feeling that my work is appreciated more overseas than it is in Singapore. I need to get out of this island more.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Aperture Magazine | Phillip Jones Griffiths

Aperture Magazine | Phillip Jones Griffiths

This is a wonderful tribute to Phillip Jones Griffiths and has a great interview with him. What is important to me is that he is not just a photographer, but that is such a passionate humanitarian. In this age of global consumerism, where large companies are profiteering from the demise of our planet, Griffiths' words strike a deep chord.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Interview with Brad Bird

interview Pixar Brad Bird - Innovation lessons from Pixar Director Brad Bird - Strategy - Innovation - The McKinsey Quarterly

My friend Marilyn sent this article to me. It is so inspiring. It gives me a lot to think about too because I am no longer a lone wolf working for myself. I have spent a lot of time nurturing my own growth. There are some interesting ideas here on nurturing a creative team.

You will have to sign up for the Mckinseyquarterly to see this article, but it is a free sign up and worth it I think.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Professional, personal, passionate

I have been working pretty hard since the new year, thank goodness. It was scary at the end of last year as there was almost no work for three months. I seem to have turned a corner in the professional career. And then I was on the faculty of shooting home 2008 and I witnessed the personal struggles of the attendees and it made me wonder about my own personal work. I have been thinking about separate things, how can I be professional without losing my soul? How do I work on my personal vision without being self-indulgent? How are these two aspects related?

One of the participants from Shooting Home said that she enjoyed the course. She liked the photography that she did and said that she would rather not do photography professionally as commercial work would not be as fulfilling. I cannot see how to reach the higher levels of photography without being a full time practitioner. I may not be shooting personal projects, but I am practicing my craft daily. When I first started photography professionally, I was lucky that some interesting subjects modelled for me. But at that stage, it was about the basics of photography. Instead of making creative explorations, I was grappling with camera settings and lighting. In my professional work, this is something I grapple with daily. I am forced to know my equipment intimately. So when I do a personal project, I can focus on the creative exploration, not the basic equipment issues. So by being a professional photographer, I am not always doing creative work, but I am constantly honing my craft. I think that it is much harder to achieve creative heights if I am not seasoned with my equipment.

In my personal aesthetics, I like beautiful things. I struggled for a long time learning how to make beautiful images. And there is nothing wrong making beautiful images in itself, but I come to acknowledge the superficiality of beautiful images. I know some beautiful work can bring the viewer to places that they have not been to before. But I am leaning towards work that has an inner beauty, a beauty that is not immediately apparent. I think that there is beauty in truth, even if that truth is superficially repulsive. Like the horror of war photography, somewhere in the horror, is the hope that the truth revealed will lead to a change for the better. It is in my nature to shoot beautiful images and I will continue to do so. But to only shoot beautiful images would be self-indulgent, a continuous variation on a theme. At a point, it almost becomes a hollow repetitive exercise. I am challenging myself to break down this wall holding me in my comfort zone. I need to try new, more challenging photographic processes and subjects. I want to do work that is more than an aesthetic or conceptual exercise. I probably need to change the way I lead my life to start creating more engaged work. I need to constantly put myself outside my comfort zone, and forget about past success. And it is also not about looking for future success, it is simply about the journey of discovery. Sometimes as humans, we get attached to past success and simply repeat ourselves. But it means that we stop growing. Ultimately, the goal is personal growth, and photography is only the tool, success only a by-product. So I constantly break down old walls, to build new walls and then break down the new walls to build even newer ones. That is not just life, that is truly living.

What links professional work to passionate personal work, is attitude and discipline. Irregardless of the work being professional or personal, one has to always put heart and soul into it. It is not just brute effort, but creativity as well. One never knows when something professional becomes personal and vice versa. As hard as it is, I try never to take a job simply as work. I take all work as an opportunity to hone my craft. I also try not to be so attached to my personal work that I am unable to constructively critique it, to see what works and does not work about it. Always, and I mean always, striving for the best outcome, and still acknowledging the shortcomings that inevitably occur. One point to note here though, the shortcomings are not something to get depressed about. Nothing is perfect. Shortcomings are simply pointers to how we can do things better in future. It is the journey and the growth that is the most important.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Porcelain Education

There is a store near my office that sells porcelain figures. I was attracted by a large Mao Zi Dong figure amongst the buddhas and taoist figures. Sitting on a shelf in the back was an educational porcelain. I was surprised to see this amongst religious figurines, but the shop lady told me that these figurines were given to young newlyweds in China. How interesting!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Backing up the New Mac Book Pro

I have a windows partition on my new mac book pro and I think about backing everything up so that I will have a quick restore plan if anything happens to the hard drive. Time machine is nice if I want to retrieve files, but it is not so convenient if there is a hard drive failure. I will have to reinstall the OS on a new drive before I even do a restore.

So this is what I am doing. I bought a 250 gig hard drive in a firewire casing. I use winclone from Two Canoes to make an image of my windows drive. The image is compressed and only takes about 4 gigs. I put this windows drive image and put it onto my Mac desktop. Next, I used carbon copy to clone my Mac Drive to the 250 gig hard drive. The 250 gig hard drive is bootable. I am actually writing this entry with the OS being run from the firewire drive. You use boot camp to choose the fire wire drive as the boot drive.

If the hard drive fails, I will install a new hard drive, use carbon copy to reinstate my Mac OS, and then use winclone to reinstate my windows partition.

Both Winclone and Carbon Copy Cloner are donation ware. You decided what to donate. You don't even have to donate if you don't want to. I donated US$10 per program.

I will still use Time Machine for file backup.