Saturday night – the night when everyone is out and drink beers at Ming Cafe, or the night when I usually think about life. This evening, as I was cleaning my lens, I reflected back about the past one year, when I have embarked my side-hustle. Why did I create images? Is it for money? Is it for the fame? Is it because of the brand name? Or is it because of the recognition that I get whenever I post something in Instagram or Facebook?
After sometime, when I finished cleaning the lens, I realised it is none of those. The correct word for it, in my current vocabulary, is the joy of creating images. I create images to make myself happy. For me, the music to my ear the sound of mechanical sound created when I push the shutter button of my camera. I shot mainly M cameras, so that is the sound that I am hearing now. Previously I shoot using M9, and I love the sound of the curtain rising inside it. Some might call it noisy, but for me that is the sound of joy. With M10-P, you can hardly hear anything even though you still have that subtle mechanical feedback as you shoot. However, the sound of my Nikon D7100 is the one that I will never forget for it is my first interchangeable lens camera, which I eventually let-go to my friend, Sabahan Mother, Wonder Woman, Vera.
So, why YOUR happiness matters?
Why Happiness Matters?
If you ask me, my answer would be, because it is like a fuel. Just like anything that is done out of passion, you tend to do the best that you can. The best thing about it, you don’t think about meaningless competition with the other person. The only thing that matters is you are happy about your final image or not. Even though you did not won any competition or not, it doesn’t matter as long as you enjoy your work. Your images matters to you. You can criticize your work, but do it in a manner that you create a constructive feedback. For example, I should try a bit more to the left, or I should shoot in a faster shutter speed so that it is a bit underexposed and I will not lose the highlights.
While you are still in a phase of self-discovery, TRY.EVERYTHING.YOU.LIKE. I cannot emphasis this enough, but you have to decide which field you want to focus on and which field you want to drop. For me, I prefer the to bring around my M10+Noctilux, and a limited edition M10 Rock & Roll Strap by Tie Her Up – that’s all I ever need even when I am shooting weddings or everything else. Call me crazy, but I love to use only a 50mm for my assignments, and a wide for occasional group shots. As for my fellow photographer friends, when they go for an assignment, they have their own signature preparation and final images that they created. That is the unique things about photographers, everyone will never have the same head. We might be looking at the same subject, but the images that we mentally-created is different. It is projected in our final image.
If you are not decided yet, I suggest you to try shooting landscapes, go to the middle of the street and try street photography, try portraiture, long-exposure, birding or even wide-angle stuff and 360 degree cameras. You might find something that you like in the process.
Why Should I?
Back to the topic, you should do the things that make you happy because that is that matters, personally-speaking. Otherwise, you are in the wrong line of activity. You should do track-day instead, broke a bone in the process to remind yourself to do something safer, or diving or swimming. If you like photography, my advice, do your because you love it, not because you want to impress Mr & Mrs Bawang (not Jones) next door. Mr & Mrs Bawang will not help you when you fall, but they will surely want to ride on your fame should you ever get famous. If you don’t like to shoot nature because you are afraid of snakes, then don’t. If you like to shoot weddings because you are still single and want to meet all the pretty/handsome ones in the party, by all mean, go for it. You have my blessing.
In the end of the day, you should be happy about your images. That is when you feel the dopamine rush as you finished touching-up your images and wait for it to come out of your printer.
Remember, do what you love, and love what you do.