Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017, The Year That Has Been

2017 has been an interesting year for me. I have stepped out of my comfort zone, I have challenged and pushed myself outside my boundaries and I finally am becoming a "real" photographer. It is also a year full of uncertainties, risk taking and making bold decisions when it comes to both my change of career direction and personal life. I cannot confidently say that I know exactly what I want in life, or know what I am fighting for. However, I know one thing, I want to gravitate more toward photography.

Photo by Matti Sulanto



Earlier this year, in February, I tendered my resignation letter to Olympus Malaysia. I officially left the company in April, starting a new life as a freelance photographer. For the first time in about 10 years, I do not have a traditional employment. Making this dive was not an easy decision, but I knew I have to give it a try and not look back 20 years from now and regret not having a go at this. I cannot guarantee (no one can) where this leads to or how I will be, but so far I am doing fine, and it is too early to reflect on achievements or failures just yet.

Another major thing that happened this year was me joining Ming Thein's site, as an active contributor. All photography heavy related posts are updated there, including camera and lens reviews, tips on photography and also the usual shutter therapy images I share. Since I have quit Olympus, I was also free to try any other brands and I have published reviews of products from Canon and Panasonic. It feels liberating to be able to write freely and talk about any other brands, without restrictions. After all, photography should not be brand specific and we just use the appropriate and best suited tool to get the job done. I noticed that many of my beautiful readers have continued to visit my articles in Ming Thein's site, and his own audience has been supportive and kind too. Thank you all for being awesome, and I appreciate your visits there, truly!

For the first time in my life, in 2017, I have also participated in real photography exhibitions. First one was the "Streets of Kuching" exhibition in February, and the second one was "Exploration" in November. Both exhibitions were held in Kuching, Sarawak, my hometown. Certainly, I have learned so much from these exhibitions about printing, curation process and also organizing these events that involved so many parties. On top of that I was able to work with talented and amazing local Kuching photographers.



In terms of photography growth, 2017 is the turning point for me. Previously, I was stuck in a full time 8 to 5 job every day, and working on weekends for consumer events for the past 3 years. Breaking free from that, I could manage my time much better and allow myself more freedom to shoot for personal projects. Certainly there have been more frequent shutter therapy sessions, and I am back in blogging more frequently again. Being able to shoot more also makes me much happier, after all if you love photography, you will love the process of creating images. Now that I am also a freelance photographer taking in paid assignment and commissioned shoots, photography life has been more challenging and interesting than before. I may not necessarily have improved dramatically in terms of skills or learned many new things, but the progress can surely be felt and I am more confident now knowing that I have spent so much time out there with cameras, capturing images.

Where do I go from here? What will 2018 bring?

I will continue to do more and more shutter therapy, exploring different genres of photography, trying out something that I have not done before. Maybe doing some wildlife photography in the rainforest (I do live in a tropical country), or diving into more documentary-styled projects. I must also pay more serious attention to developing photography as a viable business, an on-going progress that honestly still needs plenty of work to get to where I want to be. I also plan to do more reviews of imaging gear from other brands, perhaps Sony full frame mirrorless systems as well as the Fujifilm X-series cameras and lenses. Generally, the overall focus will be photography, photography and all things related to photography.

Above all, I recognize that I always have incredibly supportive and generous people around me. It was beyond what words can describe, how grateful I feel for the friends that I have and also all you beautiful people here, some have been long-time readers. Thank you so much for staying with me all this time. This blog, who I am as a photographer blogger, and how far I have come in life, would not have happened without the strong presence, bold support and genuine love from all you amazing people.

Here is me wishing everyone amazing health, abundant happiness and prosperous blessings flowing through your lives this coming 2018!

Side Note: Oh by the way, Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.2 PRO lens review will be published on Ming Thein's site tomorrow, 1st January 2018! Be sure to check that out. 


12 comments :

  1. Happy New Year Robin, it's just past midnight in Melbourne. May you dreams and aspirations come true

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    Replies
    1. Ananda, happy new year to you man! Catch up soon when you return.

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  2. Hi Robin, I’ve been following you since the beginning. I’d like to say that your writing has become so good that one would *easily* conclude that English is your first language. You’re a real pro!

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    Replies
    1. Hey Peter, you are being too kind! I still need to improve my writing. Nonetheless, reading heaps of books and articles now that I have more time, and surely working on getting better!

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  3. Always a big fan of your writing and photography Robin. All the best in 2018!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Leonarce! All the best to you too!

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  4. I've been following you since the OMD-EM5 first came out. Glad to see you're still blogging and taking risks to build your dreams!

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    Replies
    1. That E-M5 is such a great camera! I should probably take it out for a few spins and see what I can capture with that.

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  5. Bravo Robin - you are a wonderful photographer and I trust that will flow through to your success as a professional in 2018 and beyond. With such a wide following, you should arrange lifestyle photo safaris as part of your repertoire (something like Australian Chris Bray) as you have so many wonderful areas in your pet of Asia and already have a lot of potential customers! Best wishes!!

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