Why I became a “Photographer”


Is it vain pursuit?

I always thought the title of Photographer held some prestige and professionalism. As a photographer, it would seem like you had to have mastery over technical skills, have an amazing portfolio of your work and achieve a unique style that defines your photography. I still think that holds true today. With such high standards, it’s why I struggle to identify myself as a photographer. However, in today’s context, the title of ‘photographer’ has been used more loosely.

Flower Dome: A visit to Gardens By The Bay

Photography has become so common and accessible to everyone because of the advancement in technology. The affordability of camera enabled mobile phones have increased. Even a beginner can take pretty decent photographs using mobile phones almost anywhere anytime.

“EVERYONE’S A PHOTOGRAPHER!!” I once exclaimed in exasperation. My friends laughed and wondered why I said that with such disdain.

Yong Tau Foo: Grandma panfrying homemade yong tau foo in the wok.

MAYFAIR OR LO-FI?

With a simple tap on the screen, a filter can be added to make your photos look extraordinary, even though it is just an ordinary day. With cameras becoming smaller and lighter we take photos of every single thing imaginable. Be it the sandwich we are having for lunch, or the broken vase that shattered in an accidental artistic way. In an instant, these snaps are uploaded on a whim, to be shared with friends on social media through Facebook or Instagram.

So why do photographers still exist if everyone can now take photos themselves? Is there still value in photography when it can be achieved so easily?

Mid-Autumn Festival 2015: my cousins playing with lanterns in the park

WHY PHOTOGRAPH?

Why do people like taking selfies or taking photos at famous monuments? While some do it out of vanity, others want to capture moments that happen in their lives. Candid moments lost in the wave of memories are captured in a frozen image. Looking at these images allows you to travel back to that moment and relive it — even when you weren’t present, you can feel like you were there experiencing it. To me, that’s the magic of photography.

A simple home cooked meal at home: Egg with rice, chicken soup and stir-fried vegetables.

What makes me a photographer? I don’t know all the correct answers, but for me, I’m still learning to be one. To me, being a photographer takes patience, takes lots of practice. You have to know how to adapt to the situation, when to be a fly on the wall, when to really get down to knowing the people you photograph. All of this contribute to how I can capture moments and relive them later to understand better the world I live in.

Grandma taking a swim while my baby cousin comes down to the pool to say hi.
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