When I started film photography a few years ago, I used to experiment with a lot of different films and trying to achieve different looks. I tried many expired films, too, but I’m never a big fan of cross-processing (due to unpredictable results).
Nowadays, I don’t do it anymore and find it a pain to deal with, especially during the editing stages later on (no consistency). Right now I stick with two types of film: Fuji Velvia 100 for nature in bright sunlight, and Fuji Superia Premium 400 for all-around daily use. This is a picture of the film shelf in Mizuno Camera, my local camera shop. The choice of films aren’t that great, but it’s good to know that they will always have Velvia 100 and Superia Premium 400 - hence I chose them.
I do not shoot b/w films anymore (for now) for two reasons: Firstly, I don’t have the developing tank and chemicals with me now. Secondly, my apartment is so tiny that I don’t know where to hang the film to dry even if I can process them.
I do have a few rolls left of Provia 400F and some Neopan 400, and I intend to finish them off this summer. Maybe I will occasionally get a Portra 160, Ektar or other kinds of film, but I will not worry about them so much as before (I’ll save them for special occasions).
I’m aware that I haven’t updated the blog for a while.
I have been travelling from February this year - I came to Japan with a tourist visa and looking for a job at the same time. I went to many different places but I mostly stayed at my friend’s place in Kochi prefecture. Thankfully I now have landed on a job as an English teacher (my initial goal), and have been settling into my new life in a new city now. I’m currently living in Ogaki city, Gifu prefecture. During these times, I’ve been having unstable internet connection (it’s better now). I have been off Twitter and Instagram for few weeks at a time.
I love my experiences in Japan so far, I love my new job and new life too. I mean, I finally have a permanent address, yeah! :)
What I am planning to do now is to make a new blog, to write about my experiences of living in Japan and also about teaching in general. I will keep Mountain Light as a blog dedicated to arts and photography (I still browse, like, comment other Tumblr blogs). I know there are many friends asked me about my life, and I might as well create a blog that everyone can see. This new blog will take a while to start because I have so little time outside work these days, and there’s just so much to write. It takes a lot of time to organise my thoughts, and write them down. Hopefully it will be a good one!
As for my photography - in the past few months I have been shooting in colour slides (not many b/w and negatives), and I am immensely enjoying it. I just recently got back my shots from Osaka, Kyoto, and of course Kochi prefecture. I was able to capture the bright red torii gates of Fushimi Inari shrine, colourful kimonos, sakura trees, scenic mountains and rivers, all on colour slides, and I’m very happy with the results. Now is the time for curating and I will post some pictures soon.
I’m also very happy that in my new city, I have several photo labs to go to that will process negatives, b/w and slides. I am adapting well to this city - I have been regularly visiting Mizuno Camera for processing and scanning the slides, and not long after I get to know the owner, Mizuno-san himself, and even letting me know photo exhibitions that are happening in the city. As of now, he has been running the store for 18 years! This is a small city, and I thought I will need to go to the next big city to do something special (such as processing colour slides), but turns out everything’s available here.
That’s all the update for now, until then!
A friend of mine recently expressed to me that she would like to start a business, but didn’t know what. Then she goes on,
"If you were in my position, that’s no big problem for you. You know what you’re good at and what you love. You can get an income from your photography easily. But not me, I don’t really know what I love."
Then I told her, “Wrong. Everybody think that I have a natural talent in art and photography, and that I love it so much everyday. It’s wrong because there’s a bumpy road along the way. There are even days when I think I should give up photography completely.”
Even James Nachtwey, my hero in documentary photography, sure to have struggled along the way in his career. He came to Sydney and I met him in May 2013.
And I was honest to my friend. Every artists will struggle with their craft, and I have seen a lot of photographer friends of mine who have diverted their creativity into music, painting, writing, or perhaps nothing related to arts. And this is something you have to know before even thinking about comparing yourself to other people. Usually, there’s nothing to be compared to (and it usually lead to unnecessary disappointment).
Have you ever had a crush on a girl (or a guy) and thinking she’s the perfect persona, although you don’t really know her all that well? I have. And I also found out that, no matter how ‘perfect’ her life may be, I actually don’t know the other aspects of her life — at the end of the day, she’s probably just another girl who’s worried about controlling her diet, or wondering whether to get a new purse or shoes in her next pay day… The usual worries as a perfectly normal human being. Ergo, we heard writers and poets who say, “…love the imperfect person perfectly.”
I guess before we were to say anything about others’ work, we have to know deeper than what’s at the surface. If a photographer exhibit ten photographs, it doesn’t mean s/he took only ten photographs (all of which are hanged on gallery wall). Who knows if s/he has taken 1,000 or 20,000 photographs before coming down to the best ten? You will only know if you know the artist deeper through interview or a direct Q&A.
Singapore, October 2012.