Tag Archives: film

Comfort Zone

One third of the year has already passed us by, how are you living yours so far?

Ever since the start of lunar new year things has been going pretty great for myself, I’ve been living my life, doing things I love and meeting new great people along the way with common interests and really really just appreciating my alone time and freedom. My not so new found freedom.

These are nothing big but I felt proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and achieving something along the way.
Everyone has their own different set of comfort zone and I am a person who fear too much hence my ‘do not fear’ tattoo that doesn’t seem to do it’s work and remind me all that much.

I fear failure the most (and losing people I love).
Perhaps everyone fears failing, I do not know.
But throughout my almost 30 years of life I have never once gone for competition of any sort, not even lucky draws.
I might have participated in lucky draw but for as little as ten times or less because I have a feeling that I’ve never really been lucky all my life.

So why join competition when you know you’re gonna lose anyway?
Why put yourself in the position whereby you allow others to witness your failure in competing?
I see absolute no point in making myself feel so bad so the word competition doesn’t exist in my dictionary. I get very defeated when I fail and I need to learn how to cope with failing because part of life is about failing.

I’ve always been this girl who thinks that she is never good enough. Never good enough for anything basically. I was holding myself back, I was the one who put a limit to myself. I was the one who said no to myself and I was the one who failed myself before even trying.

Last month when I was hanging out with my mate at Fitzroy we went into Fitzroy library for some reason and upon exiting I saw a poster that caught my attention. A poster that says ‘Capture Yarra’, a photography competition so I grab the brochure just being all curious about the participation part.
My mate insisted that I go ahead and try and with a very hesitating look I asked, ‘Should I really?’
‘Just try, you have nothing to lose anyway. Never try never know’, he said.

With his words I brace myself and went on to try. I loaded my Canon SLR with a black and white film called Shirokuro made by Film Never Die and off I went to Fitzroy just walking around and capturing.
After my film was processed I felt like I made the wrong decision by picking the wrong film to shoot.
Photographers tend to say that black and white are more forgiving but I personally find that it has it’s difficulty because everything in my era is in colours unlike olden days.
I have difficulty watching black and white movie.
It is also because whatever I look through the view finder everything is in colours, I can’t quite picture how the photo will look like in black and white.

The hasty decision in using b&w film for this competition was from watching Vivian Maier and all these documentaries about street photographer but I think I could do a better job if I pick up Ilford instead. I picked a few photos from the roll which I found interesting and went around asking friends for opinion because I am an indecisive person and I needed opinions to pick my best two.

I wasn’t very sure of my film outcome so I went to Richmond during my day off to take more pictures but this time I used my digital Fuji instead. I just wanted to make sure that I have better chance in being a finalist but at the end of the day I followed my instinct and picked the photo that stood out to myself despite mixed favourites from friends’ decision.

25+yrs: CCP Weekend Photography Workshop + a One Year membership to CCP

An exhibition of the finalist entries and winning submissions will be launched at a special Yarra Youth Services’ National Youth Week Event, before beginning its tour of all five Yarra Libraries’ branches.

The prices definitely stood out to me, I really really want to go for CCP (centre for contemporary photography) photography workshop because I could only afford it if I sell off my kidney.
In all honesty I was just hoping to be a finalist because I know that there’s no way I will be good enough to win a photography competition when I’m not even a photographer myself.
I had been refreshing my email obsessively just waiting for that one important email that says ‘Congratulations you’re one of our finalist!’

I never would have thought in a million years that the photo I took will be exhibited, this is more than crazy. I was so thrilled to be one of the finalist and I pictured about 10 finalists from a group but when I went to the opening exhibition at Edinburgh Garden I realised from each group they actually only picked a winner and two finalists.

What!? I was that close to winning!?? You gotta be kidding me!!
This was my first time joining a competition and I took the difficult way to shoot film, in black and white with a camera that I was using the first time and got into top 3!
I still couldn’t believe it and the most amazing of it all is that my mom will be visiting me during June and I’ll be able to bring her to the exhibition and show her my work!!


One of the two pictures submitted and this was the picture that got picked into me being a finalist.
This is my favourite shot among all the pictures I took for the competition because this was a risky shot. I was standing at the opposite street from where he was sitting and I was trying to frame a shot but couldn’t find a good composition so I moved closer and hid myself behind a bus stop or tram stop stand. I took this picture of him through the glass, he noticed me and yelled at me asking me to delete the picture. It’s film, I couldn’t just delete it so I turned around and just walk really quickly to save my life. My first encounter being yelled at for taking a photo and now this photo means too much to me!


Second photo submitted which they marked into consideration as well.
This is Fitzroy public housing or sort of like housing for refugees (according to my mate) and when I went to this housing area, it is obvious that people who lives there aren’t Australian to begin with. So they’re building a home away from home which is why I used the title resettled.

They were 3 judges all together and I spoke to one of them at the opening which she proceeded to tell me that Michelle Mountain (funny name haha), the judge from CCP thinks that my ‘Resettled’ photo is fit to be place in contemporary magazine and all these while when she was talking I just kept mumbling ‘no way’ in my mind.
A HUGE THANK YOU to my mate for the push, really!

Besides this competition I also joined Slayer Latte Art competition two days ago without the intention of joining. I was just there to show support to two of my friends who were joining.
I saw them carrying goody bags and out of curiosity I asked what was inside.
They told me there’s a tamper that values at about $100 so me being the cheapskate me I asked how do they get the goody bag.
They answered, “Pay $20 to join the competition and you’ll get the goody bag.”
Okay I’ll pay and get the bag but I don’t want to join the competition, I think I must’ve repeated that for like 10 times.
They were all like you’ve paid for it, just go and try so alas I went and competed without having the intention to.

There were people like world latte art champion and another champion who designed her own jugs and shit and there I was with no preparation, with no personal jug whatsoever.
I was just borrowing jugs from other competitors haha, like serve me right for being such a cheapskate.

I was shaking terribly the first round but for some odd reason I beat my competitor and proceeded to next round. I was all ready to lose actually. There were a total of 128 competitors and probably about 200 people at the venue just looking at you pour your damn cup of latte art, what sort of stress have I gotten myself into. I have stage fright, I couldn’t even do presentation during my uni days in front of my own course mates and there I was doing my thing in front of so damn bloody many people.

I passed two rounds and I got into top 32 among 128 competitors which I am extremely proud of myself because being a person who actually have stage fright and have absolute no preparation (ie: training latte art for days) I think I really did pretty well. I guess it all comes down to really being comfortable with myself now. I feel like my stage fright weren’t an issue any more, sort of. Perhaps I’ve been way more open now to new people and experiences that I don’t see it as such a big issue any more.

At the end of the day I learned that sometimes it’s not so much about winning or failing but instead it is more about having that experience through walking the journey and knowing what’s your own worth and how far you’re standing right now.
If you have the same fear as me, I’d say go for it because you really really will never know.

Solitary Walker

I’ve been asked what is my favourite photography genre a couple of times recently and my answer was always, “Well, I don’t really know. I shoot random things but I guess I prefer street photography if I have to pick one.”

I always thought that I have no favourite genre because truth be told I do shoot random scenes and things but now that I am taking this whole thing more seriously I realised my favourite genre is indeed street photography. Not landscape, not architecture, not portrait, nope.
Landscape bore the fuck out of me HAHA. It’s nice and all but I honestly don’t feel much.
As much as I see myself as an introvert half the time or to put it more accurately, an outgoing introvert I am actually a people person.

(Leica Z2X / Hillvale Sunny 16)

Deep down I am very drawn to people, human beings and I am often very curious.
Humans of New York is one of my favourite page because through Brandon Stanton’s lens and bravery (yeap it is bravery to me) I get to feed my curiosity towards human.
Through his work I’ve seen so many types of struggles that different people are suffering from and also through his work it tells me that there are good people around, believe in humanity and have faith.
Fucked up humans make me extremely sad but at the same time I am very hooked on trying to know why they’re actually fucked up.

That Friday when a speeding car ran over pedestrians during lunch hour near Bourke Street Mall.
(Leica Z2X / Hillvale Sunny 16)

Criminal minds for example, especially serial killers fascinates me in a way. Maybe I shouldn’t use the word fascinates as I may sound too creepy now but really, I can’t help but wonder what is going on in their mind. What sort of childhood did they had that disturbed them so much and turned them into a serial killer. Childhood makes or breaks our adulthood, that’s what I believe.
I didn’t have a very good childhood, (it wasn’t BAD bad but it wasn’t really good either) so it shapes me in a way that deep down, I am a little fucked up too.

I am super self conflicting, extremist to say the least and perhaps might have the tendency to be a bipolar too. I’m not going to tell you my dark side because sometimes I gave myself a wtf look too but I do have my dark side. Is that the reason why I am drawn to human beings, I don’t know?
I want to hear about all those interesting stories, about all the different lives people are living but if you come to me and have small talk, I will want to run away. Like just leave me alone.
I am a confusing soul.

Quiet streets, gloomy day, death of loved ones.
(Leica Z2X / Hillvale Sunny 16)

I’ve found out that the reason why I love street photography is because it is a social and solitary pursuit.
I could just be alone, wandering around streets and looking at the world through my lens and really just be in my own world.
At the same time I am surrounded by people walking to their destination, going about on their business and the world just keeps moving.
At this point of time I do not wish to be notice by people I am photographing because I do not have the courage but I guess I will take up the challenge so that I can capture a more intense emotion or chemistry. I would like to start building up my courage to walk closer to my subject.

Despite, life goes on…
(Fujifilm Mini Tiara / Agfa Vista 400)

How many times I so wish to be as courageous as Brandon and talk to people I took pictures of on the street but I fear and I often think too much. I just fear rejection, basically. Yeap rejection is the word.
When I was young I have this feeling of my mom rejecting me and it haunts me although I know she wasn’t doing it on purpose because now that I am an adult I know how hard it was for her to raise me and my brother alone especially when I am the black sheep of my small family.
I honestly am so afraid of that rejection feeling so I try my best to find validation and affirmation through whichever way that I can.

How many times have I stress over not having any talent when I was young, you have no idea.
Why do I not have any talent when I saw peers around me studying so well, playing musical instruments, drawing and whatsoever. Why does everything just seems so hard to me, I often try to figure it out because without a talent or something that I can be good at no one is ever going to validate me.
I needed that attention from somewhere else when I lost the attention my dad gave me.
That could even be why I used to cut myself in high school, I needed attention and caring from somebody else. Anybody else for that matter. Of course part of me wanted to really leave this world too because I was extremely stressful and depressed. My daily routine after school used to be: came home from school, grab my lunch, then wait for my mom to head to work, head to my bedroom, pulled all the curtains, listen to fucking sad music and cry my eyeballs out. I was about 14 to 15 back then.
Honestly it wasn’t a very nice feeling and perhaps because I’ve felt all these intense sadness so many times for so many different reasons I empathize people who’s having a hard time.

(Fujifilm Mini Tiara / Agfa Vista 400)

So whenever I see a sad face on the street especially homeless people, a huge part of me wants to go over and talk to them but for some reason I never end up doing it. Well I did, just once and it was because that homeless guy was very different from the other ones. He was extremely positive so he makes it easier for me to walk up to him. Other times I so wish to just stop and stand still, adjust my camera settings, focus and take a few photographs but at the same time I also find that it might be rude for me to invade their spaces. Most of the time I just stare at them for a little while, really wanting to take a picture but I moved on and go about what I was doing at that moment.

I personally have low confidence level which is something I dislike people to see through and all the photographers that I met, acquaintances and friends gave me assurance that I should give my work more credit and have more confidence in what I am doing.
I’m not a photographer, not an amateur photographer, not an aspiring photographer, but just someone who loves taking photographs that’s all.
And how you define a photographer is someone who actually earns money from selling photos or services, that’s a photographer. Not just someone who owns a camera.

(Fujifilm Mini Tiara / Agfa Vista 400)

If you’ve been a long enough reader or a close friend of mine you’ll know that I started out with my pink Sony point and shoot which I mainly used it to take shameless selfies (guilty as charged), tons and tons of party pictures and ugly food photos. It was few years after when my camera died on me I tried changing to a new one, a stupid Samsung that drove me nuts and I just stopped using it and use my iphone camera instead. Then I bought my Fuji XM1 here in Melbourne and later on sold it off to upgrade it to Fuji XT10 which I am currently using. All these while (besides that lousy Samsung camera) I always carry my camera with me, in and out. No matter where I go, my camera is always with me. Even if I am going out for a quick lunch or a short coffee session, I have it with me and it has been a habit of mine since my pink Sony days which was probably at least 8 years ago.

A photo of absolute no patience. 
( Fujifilm Mini Tiara / Agfa Vista 400)

But because I’ve since changed into a mirrorless and it is bulky to say the least I cant bring it with me to clubs any more (not that I even go all that often) so I made a decision if I have to go to places where I’ll look like an idiot with a bulky mirrorless I will bring my super compact Fujifilm Mini Tiara that uses film.
On normal days now especially when I am using a tote bag I will have two cameras with me, my digital Fuji and a film camera, whichever I feel like it (because I now have 13 film cameras with me)!

Maybe I will start challenging myself and try talking to random people that interests me, that feeds my curiosity. I’d like to curate something in the future too but I’m just really not there yet. I see photo shoots I like on the internet and keep it as my mood board and I could try to replicate it but at the end of the day it doesn’t speak to me even though it might turn out looking nice.
If I were to curate a series I want my pictures to speak on my behalf, to show the deepest side of me because really it takes a lot of time, patience and attention for a person to know the real me.
My mom don’t know me well enough, not even my siblings or my exes I dare say. Or perhaps even myself.

It’s a lonely journey but aim high. 
(Fujifilm Mini Tiara / Agfa Vista 400)

Taking photographs on the street gives me a sense of calmness. quietness despite the busy surroundings, and in a weird way I get to communicate with myself more.

(P/S: If you’re into this sort of stuff go watch Finding Vivian Maier!)