Find Your Audience

So the 2018 arrived, and if you have missed my previous posting, then allow me to wish you Happy New Year 2018 here!

New year brings renewed inspiration and motivation. When I was at a countdown party the host randomly picked me out from the crowd and asked me what my new year resolution was. Honestly I never did any new year resolutions before, but it would have been such a buzz kill if I answered "I have no resolutions for 2018". So out of nowhere, in pure spontaneity, I spoke through the microphone to hundreds of people strong crowd: "to be a better person". 

This may sound like I stole that line from Jerry Ghionis (the world famous wedding photographer) with his famous line "if you want to be a better photographer, be a better person". I have just remembered that quote AFTER I answered the host, and it rang true to what I believed in completely. One of my on-going mission that I have started years ago, since the day I picked up a camera was to be a better photographer. In order to do that, I must strive to be a better person. That means, to treat myself and people around me better, to contribute in any way I can and to show kindness and love when needed. To give more than receive and to show support in whatever way I can. I acknowledge that human is a very complicated, but genuinely selfish species as well. For all kinds of photography that I am involved in, I can see how being a better person can truly benefit me and bring me that much closer to the great photographer that I aspire to be. I just have to improve myself, one step at a time.

All images and video were shot with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko lenses 12mm F2 and 45mm F1.8

Performed live for RIUH! : HELLO 2018 At APW, Bangsar on New Year's Eve. 
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The band that played on stage during the countdown to New Year 2018 was Nadir, a band that I have been religiously following from the very start.

There is an interesting story I want to tell here.

I usually only appeared on live music performance whenever I needed to test out a new camera or lens. I only test out the low light performance in real dim, challenging situations, that usually includes darkly lit cafes or bars where these music performances take place. Out of the many shows I have attended for camera or lens reviews, I came across Nadir, whom I have come to love their music very much. So when they announced that they were playing for an upcoming show, I finally decided to go just to enjoy their music. The photographer in me refused to be ignored, so I did bring my camera and lenses and took some shots, and a few video clips of their performance that night. The show was fantastic, you can tell by the applause and cheers from the audience, and I came home with some decent shots that I was happy with. I shared some of the shots and videos on my Facebook the same night, just before I went off to sleep.

The next morning, I was contacted by the band leader, thanking me for the shots and videos and he asked if I had more, since their photographer did not show up for the show. I shared whatever I have taken that night with him with no hesitation. That was the beginning of an interesting relationship between myself, the photographer/blogger, who does not normally take photographs of live music performance, with a group of 7, sometimes 8 people strong extremely passionate and talented musicians. We would normally meet up on Nadir's shows, and I have been to almost every single one of their shows ever since, until this very day.

Why did I come back again and again? Why do I shoot something that I normally do not shoot? I am known to be a street photographer, I take portraits of strangers. Sometimes, I take insect macro shots, and I take in paid assignment for event coverage, portrait shoots, lifestyle images as well as some wedding photography there and here. I conduct workshops and photowalks for camera brands like Olympus and Panasonic in Malaysia. It is indeed strange to have me appear in local independent music scene, and just for Nadir, following them in almost all their shows.

I figured out the answer during the second, or third show they personally invited me to go to. After that, I willingly go on my own without invitations. The group of people that form Nadir are the most genuine, beautiful, loving, kind and passionate people I know. Their strong passion for music is infectious, matching my own passion for photography. Their dedication, the sacrifices that they have made for the shows that they play and the fact that they need to get so many people together just for jamming sessions and practice was such a huge challenge. But they always make it, and they give their very best in each and every show I went to. There was not one show that I did not enjoy and sing along to. I feed off such immense amount of positive energy from this collective group of talented artists, that their inspiration flows to me and my photography.

Following the group for over a year now, I can see how much they appreciate my photography work, as much as I appreciate their music. Why do I shoot what I shoot for them? Because my images found a purpose there, they were useful and they were appreciated. Is that not what we strive to accomplish in life, and the things we do every day? To find a deeper purpose and meaning, and to be acknowledged and appreciated? Photography needs an audience, it does not necessarily need a big audience, and I am thankful over the years that I do have a strong online audience reading this blog. However, the live music photography thing has found an unexpected, yet very rewarding audience.

If you are still looking for a purpose and meaning to your photography (if you have not found yours), then my suggestion would be to find your audience. Speak to your audience. Understand them, build a good relationship, and nurture it as you grow as a photographer. Shooting will become more fun, as you and your audience engage each other in discussions and conversation, and photography will not be so one sided in the end.

To everyone in Nadir: If you are reading this, thanks so much for having me, and you guys made me feel so, so special! You guys have certainly made my life so much more interesting, and fulfilling at the same time. I sincerely wish more people, especially from outside Malaysia will know your music! Catch you guys up very soon. 

Kindly keep this page going by purchasing imaging equipment from my B&H link here. 


  1. I've only had glimpses of them through your shots previously. This video is very enjoyable. Syabas to them and to you. I've been shooting digital since the E-510. I look back over my early shots (I had also been shooting since Secondary School on film) and feel that lots of them are static, the content not engaging. My favourite shots of old and new are those that engage me, have context and evoke a feeling. So nowadays, I shoot what I feel, that makes me happiest.

    1. Connect to your subject, that is important! However, a lot of these lessons only happen after we have done and tried them, and failed along the way. Only through mistakes and lessons we learned from them that we slowly improve and get better! There is no magic or shortcut, but a continuous journey for photography!

  2. Actually, I've been shooting digital since the Nikon Coolpix 775. This makes me feel soooooo oooold!