Domestic issues

Sometimes life catches up with you and staying afloat is all you can do. I’m still around, the kids are fine, and obviously the wife is coping, but man, it’s been a mad time, especially coping with my son’s quarantine during his bout with the nefarious hand-foot-mouth disease. It sounds like something that happens only to politicians (hur-hur-hur) but bad jokes aside, I’m glad it passed with minimal fuss.

Wednesday is always a good time to post a new photo, so here it is, one of my favourites of Roarie during our shoot in July. I would have posted it sooner but again, crazy times at home. Those of you following Roarie’s  Tumblr would have seen this by now—if you’re not following her, why not?—and I’m beginning to miss shooting so I might be heading out the door in a bit for that. Maybe plan another model shoot; why not, eh? (NSFW photo below. You have been warned.)

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

Since that last post Pokemon Go was launched in Singapore, prompting massive crowds at places that aren’t designed for massive crowds, along with a whole host of photographers who are suddenly shooting people playing the game (“Pokemon trainers/hunters”, I believe they’re called). That creativity knows no bounds, I tell you.

Yes, that was sarcasm. Just have to get it off my chest. Rant over, back to your regular programming, and watch where you’re going, “hunters”.

A portrait of Roarie

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Roarie. Serious model in front of the camera, crazy goofball adventurer in real life. It’s always a pleasure to shoot with her because it’s stress-free to get good photos, and the conversation during the shoot makes it even better. Needless to say, if you even have any inclination to shoot with a model, you can’t go wrong with booking her, and that goes for photographers with or without experience.

Roarie Yum, Singapore, 2016. All rights reserved.

We managed to shoot outside of the studio, at a gorgeous apartment owned by a model named Vonny. Floor-to-ceiling windows, tastefully decorated, and filled with opportunities to make a large variety of photos instead of the bog-standard studio environment. Well worth the fee, even though I hear the rental costs have risen since our shoot as she has added a mobile backdrop. You can contact her on Model Mayhem here. (Yes, Vonny is also available as a model.)

The next time Roarie’s here we’re gonna eat everything in our path. Pretty sure that’s not healthy but valar morghulis, eh? More photos soon.

Don’t just dabble

I had an interesting (and pretty intense) conversation-slash-disagreement with my wife last night about the values of inculcating a love of music and culture for our six-year-old, and our approaches differ greatly; on hindsight it might just be the fact that I do take my “art” seriously, but I believe that one does not achieve that by adopting half-measures, by dabbling—dabbling is what hacks do.

Now I’m not against dabbling per se, but there is a significant difference in the psychology behind it. If, for example, you are already a photography enthusiast mainly interested in portraiture, and for shits and giggles you went ahead and photographed some flowers or fireworks because you haven’t really done that, then sure, it’s not a bad idea. In musical terms I guess the equivalent would be a trained pianist picking up another instrument, although I’m happy to be enlightened of better examples.

What I am against, however, is the “I’ll dip my toes into something furtively and see how I get on” kind of dabbling, simply because it denotes a kind of non-committal engagement without the investment of effort. I apologise if it sounds snobbish, and I’m not saying everyone should think this way or even agree with me, it’s just how my brain is wired. If you want to do something, do it well or at least, commit to it. Invest in the right environment to push yourself as far as you can, rather than do it half-heartedly and hope you’d like it. I would even go so far as to say it’s not unlike pursuing a rewarding relationship of any kind—being half-hearted will never get you a lover, or even a friend—let alone a love for the arts which is an intrinsically rewarding life experience.

You do not pursue the arts because you just happen do it, you do it because you need to, or at least want to.

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

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

I’m not sure if she understood what I’m trying to say, but we agreed on one thing: that Suzzi, pictured in the photographs above, is versatile and has an uncanny ability to work the camera beautifully. The joys of working with a person who can do that, to be able to practically make love to the camera, is beyond my meagre vocabulary. Those photos aren’t even the best of the lot, and you’ll see more soon, I promise. 

In the meantime, enjoy your week ahead, and I’m off to do a (non-photography) job that I haven’t done consistently since I left my editorial position last year. This should be fun.

Getting away from Facebook

Looks like a busy couple of weeks for me, with four shoots lined up.
It’s always good to be busy, keep the edges sharp and the mind working,
not to mention the physical activity that comes along with not being
holed up in front of a screen—even though the last week was spent
nursing a cold that was unwelcome.

That said, I have made up my mind to drastically cut down my activity on Facebook. Given that my work doesn’t get much exposure there, what with people being sensitive about nudity, and those who aren’t don’t often show their support by keeping silent, it’s almost outliving its usefulness to me as a photographer. Then there are privacy concerns, especially since I’ve two kids now.

 I’ll still use it to keep in touch with people, and will still be accessible on Messenger, but I realised how much time I spent on it (entirely too much), having some time back for more productive things isn’t a bad thing. There’s always Tumblr where I post photos more regularly.

Who knew a three-day ban would help me wean myself off that accursed platform with its ambiguous and arbitrary “Community Standards”?

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

I even found the time to edit some photos. More to come, and hoping for a productive shoot in the afternoon with a model.

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