Breaking before the year ends

Hopping off to Taiwan for a long-overdue vacation over the next couple
weeks, so I’m going to leave you with a photo I hope you’d enjoy. It’s
been 8 years since I traveled there, and it should be fun catching up
with some friends and taking in the changes and the sights. It’s a good
way to kick 2016 out of the way, given how terrible it has been.

May 2017 be better for everyone. See you in time for Christmas.

Ivory Flame, Singapore, 2016. © 2016 Callan Tham. All rights reserved.

A portrait to end the week

It’s the school holidays around these parts, which means that I have to spend some time with my son, along with all the pros and cons of that. It’s not a complaint, just another cycle of juggling time and work and enjoying it before he grows too old to want to spend time with his old man.

I did manage to work on this particular portrait of Ivory Flame, shot back in May. I’m not sure if this can be considered a portrait or not, but hey, it’s a photo I like. That’s all that matters.

Ivory Flame, Singapore, 2016. © 2016 Callan Tham. All rights reserved.

Have a happy weekend, people.

Another print sale candidate

Sara Scarlet, Singapore, 2016. © 2016 Callan Tham. All rights reserved.

Title says it all. Sara prefers cool-toned photographs, and I tend to prefer warmer tones, but I’m not above experimentation—I’d say it worked out pretty well! Now time to see it in print form before deciding. Would you enjoy seeing this printed?

Speaking of prints, Google has a new and rather interesting app called PhotoScan by Google Photos available for Android and iOS. It’s not exactly cutting-edge technology, but it does show us how far the phone has come to replace most of our needs that used to require a desktop computer.

It’s a little scary how quickly we’ve left that behind, and embraced how ephemeral our photos seem to be now—digital, living in the cloud, etc. I still prefer mine printed, in hand, where I can dork over in my own time. Nothing can replace that tactile feel of the printed photograph or a photobook. Which is incongruous to how much I’ve taken to reading e-books (I have a lot still to go through on my Kindle Reader app, installed on a Nexus 7 tablet and my new mobile phone.) over their dead tree counterparts.

This young dinosaur still lives and breathes, and will redirect all manner of insults about my habits and age to /dev/null. Now back to work!

The fight never ends

Singapore, 2016. © 2016 Callan Tham. All rights reserved.

These were the expressions that I and many friends had when last Wednesday came to an end—a helpless despair that was hard to quantify and even harder to accept. Granted, I’m not a US citizen, and we have our own challenges here in Singapore—the PAP government has announced, in an about-face that is damningly hypocritical even looked in its most favourable light, that our next Elected Presidency will be “reserved” for the Malays—the result represents a most disappointing and even depressing outcome.

I do not usually talk about politics here, as I speak about it all the time with friends, but I am under no illusions about politics being an everyday fact of life; it permeates everything, shapes psyche and discussion, and even societal norms on the whole. The aftermath of that disastrous result in the US have shown us that, if the results of Brexit earlier in the year have not yet made that abundantly clear.

Words have consequences. Rhetoric is hardly ever empty. And the work that any creatives do are no exception—we are supposed to challenge the comfortable perspective, subvert conventions. The work is hardly ever devoid of commentary, no matter how much we try. But therein lies the solution, for me, in that the only way, or at least, the best way for me to deal with situations like these is to keep working. That is our sole responsibility as creatives, to keep plugging away, and in our own little spheres of influence, shape realities. Anything else is folly.

Channel that rage if you feel it. Do something about it. If that is, as Neil Gaiman puts it, “making art”, then get out there and do so. That’s all the politics you’ll find on this particular blog. I may write about it on another, and I’ve been thinking about doing that for a while (back to a previous life, as it were), but only when I’m ready.

The work begins anew. The fight never ends.

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