Finding Inspirations

by shz

It was one of out of the blue things when I received a message from Shereen which I found so random. It was a thank you note. Thanking me for inspiring her for almost 9 years in photography. Although quite honestly I don’t think I did photography that long. I replied and welcomed her, confessed that I wish I can be as passionate as I was before.

People recognizes me first for my photography, rather than my very substandard blog writing. I can’t run from that and somehow it still surprises me the effect it has until now. As I said over and over again, it was just me snapping things around my then life and posted it over the internet. Maybe I am always in disbelief because I found it so effortless. How could something as easy as shutter clickings, mouse clickings could’ve inspired anyone?

I have such great respects for people who pursue photography at more serious money-making level. I mean, its a tough competition out there, hello, have you seen the amount of photographers there are in Malaysia and the pressure of trying to be different? It’s so hard to be yourself when the availability of observing and be influenced someone else’s works is just at the click of your finger tips. When the whole world is as digital as we’re living on right now, it is quicker for someone to copy you and make you so, so common. At least that’s what I’ve found happened to myself. Photography has just become such a big cliche to me.

I recently read Sue Anna Joe‘s struggle about keeping up with the photography business. Apart from some of the personal issues she mentioned, I think mostly we women just find it hard to do anything else other than motherhood wholeheartedly when you have a baby. Especially your first one. Especially in his first crucial months and years. I am already doing architecture halfheartedly, with the other half goes to Daisy. Ok, maybe not half, quater and the rest for Daisy. I have no room in my heart to do anything else. Inspirations don’t last very long for me these days, even as I am inspired writing this post, I just now had to take a break from it because Daisy who was sleeping soundly suddenly cried as if she dreamed of someone stole her candy. With all the tears while her eyes are still shut. How could I not tend to that?

One thing I learn is that to be able to do photography at your best, surely you need to be inspired. And I am so uninspired right now. Image wise talking. I think photography became my temporary artistic fulfillment when I was flunking with architecture. And now that I can design (badly, actually) architecturally and got to play music now that I’ve purchased a piano (I used to play but there were no pianos in UK), it seems that artistically speaking, I am quite fulfilled.

But I miss photography. I miss the thrill of approaching a person for a good portrait, the excitement of developing and uploading my pictures and see people respond to them. I miss selecting, going through my contact sheets with Fakhrul and debate on what a good picture is. I miss getting to know myself by looking at my works. I have a file full of old films and contact sheets crying to be done, but I just haven’t. I have just lost it, temporarily I hope.

I hope it will all come back one day, when access to a darkroom is only at the rear part of my house. Yes, we’re planning to renovate our house and a teeny tiny 3×3 meters darkroom is one of the things I drew on the plan. I really don’t want to do digital photography works, not because I look down to it, but because I’m just such crap at it! Or maybe I’m just a plain backward thinking old-fashioned girl, who likes her pictures in her hands. That’s what differentiated my old works with the others back then, is the ability to not just take a picture, but print my picture. Hah, how’s that for little confidence boosting talking?

Anyway, my point is I have such a great admiration and respects for women in the photography world who are just brave enough to take another leap, to not making excuses like me, to keep being so inspired for so long, especially those who are braver like Sue Anna Joe to commit financially until the opening of her studio and winning impressive commissions. I really hope she doesn’t shut down, I’m sure she is such inspiration to others too. I hope she will overcome whatever her struggle is, because everyone has one. And for women like Shereen to keep up whatever she is doing, because as much as I have inspired her, she has now become my inspiration too.

Until then everyone. Let’s just keep inspiring each other.