[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT: The power of photography

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The power of photography

I don't think my video skills have improved much since being in Beijing, but I can take solace that my venture in China - and Mongolia - has boosted my enthusiasm in photography. I've also discovered the beauty of black & white!

I've gotten good feedback from friends and strangers (i.e. Flickr, etc.) saying 'oh, how professional!' and telling me I should enter some competitions. I'm too humble so I usually deflect these compliments into thin air. Sorry if I sound disingenous!

But after watching this video with David Griffin (below), photo editor at National Geographic, I'm quite convinced that although I've long been a proponent of video, the power and attraction of awesome photography is undeniable, and eternal. Photos like McCurry's 'Afghan refugee' or MuCullin's 'Shellshocked' oozes with so much emotion. Photos like these would stick more easily in people's minds that say, a really good documentary. Both have their pro's and con's but I'm determined the make the best of both mediums. I've also created a new gallery at Nat Geo's 'Your Shot' site.

While I've been assessing my career predicament, whether or not to leave Hong Kong and debating the worth of my existence, the quest to become a better photographer (and storyteller) has begun. I've started to research potential photo essays or multimedia slideshows to do. Good thing is I've always got SCMP as a platform... while I'm still there. This also reflects my waning passion in creating video, especially at my job. I no longer feel the excitement when starting a new project. I'm also to blame: I've just been doing assignments given to me and not being proactive enough in doing the subjects I'm interested in. Another reason for that is because of the lack of feedback from the work we've done. Hell, most of our reporters have never even seen our material. The only closure we get are the inane comments on YouTube. Even 'bad' feedback or criticisms would be good. I feel I'm getting too comfy, not challenged enough and my routine too... regimented. That's why I always envy the freedom of freelancers. Though some I know aren't too keen on their independence either, citing a lack of stability.

To end things before I blabber on: I received this email today from a certain someone and it went like this:

"Hi Ed,

How are things going? You're life is looking more and more like I wish mine did! You're definitely the most interesting facebork friend I've got, and your photos are getting better and better!...

...Cheers, hope you're as happy and stimulated by the world as you appear!"

I was flattered by her opening statement.

As for the closer, well, I just half-heartedly chuckled at the irony of it all. It's not that I'm unhappy but, man, this sinking feeling has yet to be rectified. It's no-one's fault, certainly not Hong Kong's either as some have suggested. The SAR has been good to me, there's no denying that. I've done so much here, met so many great people and I DO NOT take it for granted. But amid all the work and achievements I've done, there's always been that element missing. Someone to really share it with.

I finished off my reply to the above recipient by: "thanks, but hey, at least you got someone to love."