Last year was busy and long on many counts. It was a year of learning. Most would argue this – every year or in fact every day we learn something new. Yes. Mostly. But some lessons ground and polarise you. Some leave an indelible mark and change your pathway. 2017 was one of those years of relearning myself. Of knowing to see beyond my horizon.
Earlier in the year, I was in Vietnam for an epic photography course with Eric, Neil, Cindy and Hà. It was very nice to meet old friends and make new ones. I finally got to meet Cindy and Neil both of whom I have known for a bit. Revisiting Hanoi after eleven years brought back many good memories – I wrote about it here. The photographic journey was insanely rewarding. I collected more friendships with like-minded people. Eric definitely has a way of attracting good people together.
Taipei was the next leg of my journey. Spending time with Wei and seeing his city through the locals viewpoint was priceless. I was also very fortunate to have Lucas to hang out with me for the next few days and finally to meet Haute, KC, Ed, Chung. In hindsight, wish I had kept more time aside for Taipei. It’s a magical city and I can’t wait to revisit one day soon.
Halfway through the year, I released my project work on the tribal people on Vietnam. Very soon after its release, The Hmong Spirit was featured on Fujilove by Tomash. This happened a day before my birthday and in a few weeks, I heard my photo from Melbourne was picked to be among the top two of the Catwalk to sidewalk exhibition in Melbourne at the Public records office Victoria. I flew down to the exhibition opening and found myself among friends from Sydney and Melbourne. It was a humbling experience.
Somewhere from the beyond blue firmament, Ma keeps looking after me.
I was sent on assignment to photograph a school event in Urunga in regional New South Wales where kids and teachers interacted with Artificial intelligence and Minecraft virtual worlds. Back in Sydney I also covered Interact 2017 an IT event where Mark Scott — Secretary of the Department of Education made an appearance at the Australian Technology Park. And over at the head office of the Department of Education, I also took behind the scenes photos of a team working alongside with Adobe Australia to deliver next-generation technology solutions to public schools in New South Wales. It has been a busy year. Challenging but fun and fruitful. And I have learned a lot of things I possibly took for granted.
How photography gear changed me in 2017
Most purists shudder at the thought of changing gear. It is not my intention to challenge their views. Change in my view is a good thing. Curiosity is ingenuity. Till you find your sweet spot with a camera or a lens. Everyone’s process of finding their photographic path is unique. Some need change(of gear), some don’t. We are all different even though we are similar.
in 2017 I went from using the Ricoh GR-II back to Fujifilm X-Pro2. it was a strong second honeymoon with my Fujifilm X-Pro2. Then came the skittish lover Fujifilm X100F. We had some great moments together. But in the end, I had to let it go for two compelling reasons. It was a little small for my hand and the centre of gravity of this camera is lopsided! I made lots of tilted horizons unless constantly aware. We said our goodbyes in a mall by the tall Christmas tree.
In the last quarter of 2017, I befriended Satan himself. I was about to commit a cardinal sin. I thought about it lots and then finally one day when the stars aligned I came home with a beautiful black Leica Q. Happy little mudlark. My good friend Andrew had a smidge influence but it would be fair to say I’ve desired one for a while for its sheer engineering finesse and the way it captures light. It was a brand new honeymoon with a whole new body!
Whats in store for 2018?
Street portraits, capturing the emotion and the occasional travel photos. More writing for my blog. The truth about the world around me. These are general guidelines but once unpacked there is a lot in there. I hope you enjoy it. What is your focus this year photographically speaking?