The fear of “don’t know”


People who act like they know everything and wanted to comment on everything… we will bump into this kind of people once in awhile, don’t we? Or perhaps we are one of them?

Looking back, I was once behaving like this as well in the older days. Fear of being left out, fear of missing out in the conversation, fear of being alienated, so I will talk and act like I knew about it when I wasn’t. There were times when I got by, there were times when I screwed up of course.

In the end, I reflected and thought: What for I need to feel the fear? If I don’t know about it, just ask, and then I will be able to learn more about it. The conversation will still continue. For things that I don’t know, I’ll try not to comment too much on it. 

The same goes to every other thing… be it work related, photography related or life related matters. The moment you acknowledged you “don’t know”, you emptied yourself to absorb more. Hence, there’s nothing to fear anymore. Just open up your heart and mind, and fill it up with knowledge you would have lost when you act like you knew.

A break from Analogue Photography

As 2018 approaching to an end (yes, it’s ending really soon!), as usual I’m taking a look at my stuff and trying to make some changes and tweaks in hope to improve myself, improve my life, reduce clutter, streamlining stuffs, getting closer to minimalistic and so on. 

This time around, my drybox gets a makeover. I sold off all my film related stuffs, from all the film cameras to scanner, all gone. Many people asked me why. Had I lost my interest in film and analogue photography? Is film dead? Is analogue not something worth to shoot anymore?

Well, not really. There’s a point of time in my life where I’ll need to make the decision, whether to stay or leave. Just happened that after some serious consideration, I decided that now is the time. I still love film, I still enjoy shooting with analogue camera. However, looking ahead, after completion of my study, I’m actually planning on something else, which will probably keep me busy again most of the time. I may end up having little time to shoot, let alone shooting with film.

Will I ever return to analogue photography? I don’t have an answer for now, but I think it’s pretty likely. As of now I still have a soft spot in my heart for films and film cameras. Hopefully after this break, someday… I will be back. I’m glad that I had captured some great photos with my film cameras, and I will cherish them for the days to come. Till then.

Time management?

I can still recall when we wanted to do a group project, some of the members said they were not free because they need to complete other tasks first. And then you will see all sort of other reasons given when we were planning for a meeting. This happened all the time, and perhaps on you and me as well. We always complaint that we are busy, we do not have time to do this and that, but when you take a step back and see, where have you spent all your time on?

I used to play a lot of games on my phone when I’m commuting. In the end, I ended up having “no time” to read news or to do other things at night after work, no time to exercise, no time to read, no time to social with friends and so on. In the end, I decided to stop playing games on my phone all together, and suddenly I realized that I have spare time now to read books and news while I’m commuting.

I’m not saying you should stop playing mobile games just like me. My point is, everyone has the same 24 hours a day in our life, it’s up to us to decide what to do with it and stop making excuse for not doing it. For me, I chosen to drop mobile game because I realized that it brings no value to me other than entertainment, and I can easily get entertained while reading too. Furthermore, reading books will add more values to me by giving me different perspectives, learning new things and so on.

Back to the case of group project, so why others can manage their time better and make the commitment to spare time for the group work while some can’t do it? I wonder. But when things like this happened, it breaks the harmony and rhythm, which I found very disturbing. You need to be responsible for your action, especially those that will affect others.

I’m not a guru in time management, and I’m still working very hard and learning everyday. Hopefully one day I will stop saying “I’m too busy for this or that”.

Goodbye Zeiss Ikon ZM

The last film camera that leaves my hand. That should say a lot about this camera I guess? I can still recall the time when I was deciding what film camera to get, probably over 2 years ago. To go the SLR route or rangefinder route? If rangefinder route, to go with the Hexar, a Leica, a Voigtlander or a Zeiss? In the end, I had chosen to go with the Zeiss for all its excellent attributes, and I had never regret for doing so.

I sold off my Fujifilm GW690 III and Hasselbld Xpan earlier on, and was contemplating whether I should keep this camera with me as my only film camera moving forward should I choose to continue to shoot film. The camera feels good, much better than a Leica in my opinion. No nonsense, practical and just a pure joy to use. It had never let me down, not even once. Hence, I’m reluctant to cut away this emotional tie that I have with this camera.

I pulled out my last roll of film from my drawer, loaded up this camera and went for a shoot the other day. I enjoyed the feeling of using this camera, I really do. As the frames tickling down, I kept pondering in my head about “What’s next? What will our future be? What will my future be?” I was trying to think logically and rationally, without being influenced by my emotional connection with it.

As the last frame was shot, film rewinded, I made up my mind to put a pause to my journey on film photography once again. I want to take a break out of it, and I think now is the time to move on to something else. I might come back again in the future, just like how I did in the past. But for now, is time to take a break. I sold off my Zeiss Ikon. I hope the new owner will take good care of it. Till then.

We… who take pictures

Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but pictures. Kill nothing but time.

I really like this line from the post shared via one of PetaPixel’s article. It’s about a landscape photographer’s decision to stop sharing the location of where his photographs were taken, in the aim to avoid the influx of mankind rampaging to these places and ultimately… destroying them.

Through the years, we have seen how the world of photography changed, and as more and more pictures were shared on minute basis, people started to ask for more pictures and perhaps different pictures. People started to explore more and more places, and when a new location was discovered, everyone flocked to it and started snapping away. The same goes for the Instagram-generation and also the traditional photography community. I shared my sentiment on this phenomena in one of my previous post. But has things changed since then?

Well, yes. It get worse, sadly. The invasion of smartphone camera, not to mention drones as well, has created a huge impact… both good and bad. The good thing is that someone got rich… the bad thing is the social aspect and the Mother Nature got suffered. I used to believe that social medias like Instagram and Facebook was at fault for such a chaos… perhaps they are. But when I think deeper after reading the article, perhaps there are something more.

These social medias provided a platform for people to share their stuffs. They probably knew that it’s what we wanted, hence everyone got hooked on easily. When people started sharing, some started to crave for more likes, while some started to think of a way to monetise what they shared. These thoughts caused people to share more, to go beyond others, to outdo everyone, to be the first to discover a new location, to be the first to gather all the fame. Maybe… the real problem was all along… the people.

There are two sides of people, the creator and the audience, and both are equally liable for all the problems we are facing now. For example, Creator A travels to unknown places, trespassing along the way so that his post will be “different”. And by doing that, the audiences reacted by giving Creator A a lot of likes and shares. What happens next? Creator A will continue to do more of those trespassing so that he can continue to get more likes, of course. And when Creator A run out of places, he will probably start exploring places that are higher in risk, more remote, more dangerous etc., which is a never ending cycle. Best case scenario is he gets away with it and lives on to tell the tale. The worst? Well, probably caught by authorities, or perhaps damaging the nature along the way, and maybe got the attention of the mass and people starts rushing to the same spot, which ultimately destroyed the place altogether.

It’s time for a change, really. And it all needs to begin with us, the people, the photographer. Yes, we are all “photographer” today because we all have a camera with us all the time, be it DSLR, mirrorless or our smartphone. We need to be responsible on what we do, about to do, and the consequences of our action in the future. For the name of photographers, for the sake of Mother Nature, we really need to stop doing things that will harm us all. Stop applauding acts, videos or pictures that causes more harm than contribution to the photography community. Small action like this may not mean everything, but hopefully with a small steps like this, we can at least get something out of it.