Instax. Just fun.

So I’ve been trying this Instax thing that’s been so popular with the younger, more haps crowd. As it turns out, it was more fun than I expected. Insanely so for a snapshot guy like me.

Most of the shots I got are of my son, who seems to have gotten a little camera-shy since he lost a tooth, but I’ve been able use them at a couple of nude shoots too. Here are some of Sara. (NSFW in case that wasn’t obvious enough.)

Sara Scarlet, Singapore, 2015. © 2015 Callan Tham. All rights reserved.

Sara Scarlet, Singapore, 2015. © 2015 Callan Tham. All rights reserved.

Sara Scarlet, Singapore, 2015. © 2015 Callan Tham. All rights reserved.

Sara Scarlet, Singapore, 2015. © 2015 Callan Tham. All rights reserved.

I guess part of the allure is the ephemeral bit: these probably won’t last as long as proper prints, but that’s the point. Whatever we have photographed is, in a sense, already gone; and what we have yet to photograph still lies ahead. Every one of these Instax photos are quite literally a snapshot that no longer exist.

There’s a certain appeal to that. Now if only the film was cheaper…


One year on

It’s been almost a year since I gave up professional photography, and the went back to the grind of a day job. To be fair, it isn’t a grind as I get to work with a bunch of fantastic people, and it isn’t often that I consider my co-workers “friends”, although this bunch definitely fits the bill. (I also knew two of them from before I landed this job, so acclimatising is much easier.)

A week ago I was having a conversation with a friend, a fellow photographer who has struggled with the ever-decreasing corporate budget for photography, when I had an epiphany or sorts: that I’m finally getting used to the fact that I’m just an “amateur photographer” now. I’m beginning to embrace that freedom that comes along with that. No more stressing over securing jobs from (potentially) unreasonable clients with budgets that resemble a secondary school student’s monthly allowance. The day job has given me a stability that I can now leverage into doing what I love.

(That said, I’ve had the pleasure of working with clients who are as close to perfect as one can hope for, as well as amazing models who have been nothing but inspiring muses. Long may that continue.)

With that though, came a catch: stable hours means I have to actively find time to photograph. The day may be beautiful, clear skies and sunlight that gives purpose to even the slowest emulsion, but it is useless when I’m stuck behind a desk that is the foundation of my financial stability. This isn’t a complaint, but rather an observation. And I’ll be completely honest in saying I have not done that. It was a fear that I only admitted to a couple of people, and I realised that it was entirely an error of my doing.

I failed to embrace my status as an amateur.

That needs to end. I need to rediscover what a friend of mine calls “the hustle”. That energy to do what I must do because that’s how I want to live my life. The relentless, insatiable need to photograph, to fill my lungs with fumes from the fixer, to keep exercising my shutter finger and my eyes, to maintain the discipline for a process that not only brings joy, but also purpose. 

It’s been far too long since I have done that, and by failing to keep up, I’ve done myself no favours and maybe even a fair bit of damage, psychologically.

Time to embrace the grind again.


[NSFW] One spot left for my upcoming art nude workshop

Less than one month to go, I still have one spot open for the workshop with Sara Scarlet and Riona Noire. More details here. Just to be clear, it does not matter if you’re experienced with shooting nudes or working with models, or even inexperienced as a photographer, as long as you have interest in the subject, and have a camera.

Here’s another shot of Sara from our session in Paris 2 years ago.


It has been 20 years, and other assorted thoughts

As of last Saturday, I’ve been with Karen for 20 years, and we’ve been married for 10 of those years.It sounds like a pretty long time, but an old friend once reminded me just before I got married, it’s not that long when one is planning for a lifetime together. And he’s right. So here’s the obligatory photo of my lovely wife, taken last year.

Random thought 1: An art nude photo that got (I assume) some bored teenager all angsty over at Google+ is now my most popular Tumblr post with 115 notes. I now have a mild inkling of an idea how the photographers feel when their work is blogged by MPD. Also, thanks Roarie :) The photo probably got that many notes because of you.

Random thought 2: I love photos, and I love competition (just ask my friends). However, “photo competition” makes no sense to me. Photography is one of the few things where I don’t feel the need to compete simply because it shouldn’t feel like it to me. I intend to keep it that way.

Random thought 3: I’d really love to work with a local full-time model and shoot art nudes, and there are quite a few reasons for it. I wonder if that’ll change any time soon, but I’m not counting on it. If anyone knows anyone, let me know, eh?

Random thought 4: This Instax thing is more fun than I thought.

Random thought 5: “Instead of bashing what you hate, promote what you love.” That’s something I need to constantly remind myself of. Especially when a sense of aesthetics seem to completely elude most people.

Random thought 6: Geez, I’m really judgmental. Must be the age.

I’ll end on a happy note, for me at least.


[NSFW] Update: Art Nude Workshop with Sara and Riona

My profound thanks to those of you who signed up! For those of you still mulling it over, there is only one spot remaining for the workshop. For more details, see this post; the early sign-up discount is valid till end of February 2015. In the meantime, here’s another photo of Sara from our shoot in Paris more than a year ago.

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