Friday, January 08, 2010

At this time



I have not been blogging much in 2009. I would like to have done more and have more to share, but the last year was a year of pleasantly getting by. The biggest change came at the end of 2008 when I let go of most of my staff. 2009 just drifted by for me. I did continue shooting for performing arts groups and families. The highlight being the photography for the Genee International ballet competition. I also rented the studio out. That was a blast when the British Council staged An Interview with Adrienne in my studio. And I also rented the studio out to Steve McCurry to run his workshop during the month of photography. And I taught quite a lot in 2009. The highlight of the teaching was having a noise apprentice, Guo Jie. I saw something special in the way he sees things and I hope that I managed to help in connect that seeing with life more.

With the world financial crisis, the feet have been knocked out from under the photographic industry. This is not an independent thing, photography all over the world has been undergoing a democratic revolution, moving from the domain of specialised professionals to the ubiquity of everyone taking photos on their phone, the computer or their mp3 player. Being a professional photographer, with the exception of the top end commercial photographers, is an extremely difficult way to make money. I went back to being a freelancer for personal reasons, but if I had kept my company large in 2009, I would have been forced by circumstances to let my staff go, and the whole experience would have been much more painful. As illogical as it may sound, 2009, without a major plan, without large corporate shoots, was the best financial year for me. Lots of people look only at the potential earnings, but forget the overheads. Without large overheads, lower paying jobs, teaching and rental all add up. So I have found a way to survive in this environment. And I have freed myself up to pursue my own vision.

The greatest challenge before me is not a financial one but a personal one. I have been inspired by Anders Peterson to live life more, and not live life behind the camera. But my life is mundane, and the pictures are not that compelling. I do think though the photos that I have been taking with my iphone have their charm. The challenge for me has been how to live life better.

Although 2009 was not a hectic year, I still had too much to do. It was hard to find space to re-orientate myself. This year, 2010, I am making a personal dream come through. I am taking 8 months off and traveling overland to London. I am already sure that it will be a unique journey for me and it will be a wonderful experience. But I think the point of the trip is not to find new vistas, it is to find myself.

This is what I think that the world community has to do too in these extraordinary times. Instead of going back to the old paradigm of capitalist consumerism, which is leading us to an irreparable environmental crisis, the world needs to find in self again, in community and in simple pleasures of life. I hope we find ourselves, before we are lost for ever.

1 comment:

pfong - said...

Your idea of finding simple pleasures is very resonant. Less is sometimes more.