London Commute

London Commute, 2020

I do not like commuting in London during rush hour or when there is a problem.

I took this photo at around 9.30am on Tuesday and this was the situation at London Liverpool Street as I was heading to university. Normally, I would be standing right at the yellow line, you know the one near the edge of the platform that they keep announcing that you should stand behind of? That one.

Not on this day. I reached the platform to find it full of passengers and I was already running late for class. There were more on the stairs to the right of the photo.

On this day, I don’t know what the problem was as it was not announced or maybe it was and I wasn’t paying attention.

All I can say is, I got to class 20mins late.

#LondonCommute

Personal: Family First

That moment you take a minute to reflect. Family support is EVERYTHING esp. when they came out to see my FMP Free Range Show back in 2016.

My daily challenges as a mother who is trying to work as a freelance photographer and at the same follow my passion, is that there are not enough hours in a day.

On a serious note, just getting to juggle between being a wife, mother and a photographer is hard enough as your family esp. children come first as the expense of getting childcare when an opportunity to go out on a job or assignment always makes you analyse whether is it worth it. Also, people don’t take creatives seriously and always want to undercut us when it comes to paying for work done.

I am here for #SupportingWorkingMums as the struggle is real.

So, if I quote you for a job, please keep in mind that I have bills just like you. And, when I mention my kids, don’t assume I cannot do the job. It is not that complicated. They are the very reason I am putting myself forward for the job.

Thank you and stay blessed, always!

Side note: This article by photographer Sophie Ebrard puts this struggle into a much better perspective of how as women we struggle to get the job, keep the job and still strive to raise our children in healthy environments.

#SupportingWorkingMums

Revisit: Why Photography? Part II

It is interesting that when we think of photography, we only think about the visual until you are studying the medium and are thrown into a theoretical world of books that have been written on photography. Not until your lecturer points out that no one really writes anything about ‘the photograph’ or photography itself when it is kind of directed to the general public to make them understand photography in layman terms. It actually gets you thinking.

During one of my postgrad modules, Writing Photography, my lecturer set out writing tasks every week. In week one, the challenge was to write about ‘the most photographed barn in America’ or ‘origins of a photographer’. I chose the latter and decided to focus on myself. So going through my blog, I found this post I had written in 2009 and decided to ‘update’ it for my writing exercise. So, here goes…

Origins of Myself as a Photographer

I had a very interesting conversation with my mum just the other day about my passion for taking pictures.

Apparently, it started when she had a camera and I was a bit young. I would just take it and snap away. She used to scold me, but I guess I never listened. Otherwise, we (I) wouldn’t be here today.

I love being behind the lens rather than in front of it. What started as a hobby is turning out to be something I would like to do full time.

I have used film in 35mm and APS (Advance Photo System) formats, compact digital and now DSLR (digital single-lens reflex).

I just love being in this digital age of photography……no time to wait around for your pictures. Although, I somewhat miss the intensity of waiting for your films to be processed. Waiting to see if you nailed the shot or not.

Anyway, I just love the whole process of capturing life on a single frame and making it a personal journey of your life as a photographer.

I just love the beauty of storing pieces of ‘forgotten’ memories which can me shared years from when the picture was taken.

I just love the whole process and the lessons learnt from the whole experience. Be it fashion, sports, travel, nature, etc.

To me, photography is my way of showing the world how I see it, through my eyes and lens.

A passion I hope to nurture and let in grow within me.

I wrote the above piece on my blog on 11th February 2009, three or so years before I even considered studying photography. I knew deep down that I would have to get some sort of education or training in the world of photography. A foundation into how I can understand photography in depth, read it and use it as a tool to investigate and navigate through the world.

Have my sentiments over the years since I wrote that piece changed? Probably not, but what I am discovering now is that I am learning to be in the moment with photography. Pace myself even if the scene around me keeps changing. Wait for that moment and be patience with projects especially the ones with the potential to go on for years. Yet at the same time, I am unlearning bad habits that I have picked up along the way, like just photographing something because it looks good or pleasing to the eye. I need to stop thinking about how it makes me feel and just photograph it anyway. It may not look pleasing to the eye or make sense at the time, but eventually, it just clicks (no pun intended).

Coming from a background where photography is used as a tool to record mostly life events like birthdays, weddings, family gatherings etc., I am grateful and proud of myself for trusting the process of learning both the theory and practicalities of the medium beyond just taking family snapshots.

And there you have it. My updated version / revisiting and rewriting about my journey are a photographer. This also prompted me to start a series of vlogs where I talk about one particular picture. I am thinking of making this a regular feature on my YouTube channel. In a sense, it is my way of writing photography through spoken word and it is a working progress.

Click here for the playlist and tell me what you think.

If given the task, how would you write about photography? Or a particular photograph?

#WritingPhotography

3 Things I Learnt in 2017

Well, hello everyone and welcome to my new looking blog/website.

Seeing that another new year is upon us, I thought for once it would be nice to just go with the whole, ‘New Year, New Website’ vibe. Yes, I decided to tidy up this place so that I could share my work side by side on the same platform as my blog.

Also, this year, I have decided that I will not have any resolutions. Instead, I will focus on just getting things done. Which brings me to the “3 Things I Learnt in 2017”.

Lesson #1 – Don’t Start What You Cannot Finish

This one for me is like kicking myself. I am always starting things and never finish. For example, this time last year, I started a photography challenge that would see me take a picture a week for a whole year. By now, I would have 52 photographs that I would be looking back on and reflecting on a job well done.

BUT WAIT…How far did I get with that one? I hear you ask.

Well, two weeks. I only lasted a measly TWO WEEKS. Yes, January was not even halfway and I already failed to literally commit to the challenge.

To be honest, the reason I started that challenge in the first place was to distract myself from doing my dissertation. I soon realised that it would not write itself and I just had to dig deep, stop procrastinating and get to it. By the time I finished with my paper, I was too bored/lazy to continue on with the challenge. So I shelved that idea.

Looking back, I have soon realised that I should not commit to anything unless I intend to see it to the end. And if this means saying no to anything that comes my way that will have an effect on this outcome, then so be it.

Which brings me to…

Lesson #2 – It is OK to say NO!

I am slowly realising that saying NO is necessarily not a bad thing. You may upset people along the way who may not like your answer, but at the end of the day, it is your decision and choice whether you want to honour someone’s request or not (within reason of course). Being a creative, I have reached a point in my life that I can’t keep saying yes to assignments/jobs just because I need to make ends meet. Most of the time, my heart and soul is not even there and I end up feeling terrible after the fact and end up doing something just because. JUST BECAUSE is not a good way to do something and you may end up not do it to the best of your ability. So, I just made it my mission to only do something that I know I can do and I will enjoy doing. No point wasting my time and yours if my heart is not in it and we all know, time is money.

ek13_photos best nine

Lesson #3 – Never Stop Learning

In this day and age of the internet and social media, we are fortunate enough to have an abundance of resources to learn something new every day. Being a parent, I am also learning new things through my kids on a daily basis. So in essence, this is one aspect of life we cannot avoid, but as humans, we have the perchance to ignore it especially when it matters the most. So, if I see something I am totally interested in and don’t know how to do it or need more practice, I will ask someone to teach me or use the internet to know how. And, if relevant to what I am trying to do here on my blog/website, I will give back by sharing what I have learnt. I know by doing so, I will help someone come unstuck and grow.

Moving forward, I would like this year and the years to come to be my chance of self-improvement and investment so I can have a worthy result that I am happy and content with.

What lessons have you learnt in 2017 that you will take with you into 2018 and beyond?

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#LessonsLearnt

Tips on How I Archive My Work

My Western Digital hard drives

As a digital photographer, you will always end up with loads of photographs and videos over the years and in my case, around 8+ years worth. Unfortunately, one of my computers, an iMac, decided to call it a day and I cannot retrieve a whole library of my work, most of which wasn’t backed up. Yes, I can feel you cringing from way over there. That is a blog post for another day.

In this post, I am going to share a few tips on how I archive my work. A system that works for me, but might be helpful to someone out there. My methods may not be perfect, but it works and I can find my folders/files easily.

Tip #1 – External Hard Drives

Now that I haven’t got a desktop anymore, I work mostly on my MacBook Pro. My laptop hasn’t got much storage at 250GB with only 26GB left at the time of writing this. I try very hard not to let it drop below 20GB as it tends to slow down my machine. It’s an old laptop as well.

I digress.

Anyway, I have invested in hard drives. My favourite brand being Western Digital ‘My Passport’ hard drives. The key is to have several small capacity hard drives than saving all of your work in one large capacity hard drive. I tend to save my work on the current one that I am using and have another one to backup my work in. I am still looking for that third option to store my work as we all know how expensive it can be to invest in hard drives, cloud and data loss. So far, the best one I have come across in BackBlaze, which is a Cloud type of storage.

Tip #2 – USB Sticks / iCloud

I always have a pair of USBs with me in case I forget my hard drive, it gets full or simply stops working. This way I have an option readily available to save my work when out and about.

Current pair of USB sticks

For my phone, as I take a lot of images using my iPhone, I have invested in iCloud especially for storage for my images and videos. The thought of losing photographs of my children is just too painful.

I am now looking to go much further and invest in Backblaze Cloud storage solution I mentioned above. The peace of mind that your data is safe in case your computer is lost or stolen just makes it a worthy investment. And in the case this happens, they send you an encrypted hard drive of your backed up computer to restore depending on where you are in the world. This is at a cost of course. You can read all about it here.

Tip #3 – Creating Folders

For as long as I can remember, I have been creating folders for all my assignments, projects, etc. and I have always put them in a Master Folder. I have one for images and another for video.

The more I photograph, I have come to a realisation that I now need to categorise my folders into years and then months that I have now started dating my folders so when I decide to ‘spring clean’ my computer, I know exactly which folder goes where.

Tip #4 – Naming the Folders

For anyone, this is no brainer. You name your folder according to what the images or videos are. As mentioned in Tip #3, I have now started putting dates on my folders, e.g. EK13 Filmscans 010317 – my brand, what is in the folder and the date (day month year). And in the folder, I have an original folder for the DNG files and then a Final folder for finished edits. Depending on the project/job, I will have additional folders for Photoshop, Web, Social Media all in the ‘master’ folder for the particular project/job.

Tip #5 – Online Platforms

My current choice is Flickr, but this has turned out to be my final thought when I want to archive my pictures. With it changing over the years and the threat of it being discontinued, makes me not make it my priority to store my images, but worth a mention as I have some photographs that I lost from my desktop saved on Flickr. There are others out there like Picasa, but I am yet to try them.

Well, there you have it. My tips or should I say, ‘insider’ information on how I archive my images.

Care to share other ways I might want to look at when it comes to archiving or backing up data.

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#DigitalBackups