A tale of two cities

“We can either accept the death of Hong Kong’s way of life as a consequence of the new security law, assuming – wrongly – that we are impotent to do anything about it. Or we can hear the cry of Hongkongers – repeated again and again over the past year and most recently just yesterday in polling stations across the city – and take a stand.

A stand that makes it clear to Hongkongers that even if Beijing and its puppet Chief Executive Carrie Lam refuse to listen, the world hears them.

A stand that says even if we cannot immediately “liberate” the city, we can at least make the Chinese Communist Party pay the highest possible price for breaching an international treaty, breaking its promises and destroying Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms.

A stand which says clearly to Hongkongers that even though they may be entering into “the worst of times,” their convictions inspire us to work for “the best of times.”

A stand that says the world knows that even if One Country, Two Systems is dead, it is now “A Tale of Two Cities.” A city increasingly under the grip of the brutal, mendacious, repressive Chinese Communist Party while a free, open, vibrant city still beats in the hearts of ordinary Hongkongers. A city that is increasingly dead in its institutions, governance, and autonomy versus a city that is as alive as ever in its people’s hearts.”

Full article here.

Till the day I die

Some days I feel deader than dead about photography—don’t know why I’m doing it, don’t know what it’s good for, don’t know if I’m any good at it. I think about giving it up and rack my brains about what else I would rather be doing. Maybe I will be an interior designer. Or go work in a bookstore. Or I might want to try starting my own company publishing books.

I daydream the various options.

But after I feel deader than dead I always circle back to the feeling that photography is something that I love without reason. I don’t know why. Maybe I’m not very good at it, maybe it’s not good for anything, maybe there is no good reason behind why I should keep doing it, but I can’t help it because something in me loves it. Maybe it’s that voiceless part of me, hidden away from the world, that loves it. I really have no idea. It’s all so mysterious. But sometimes that feeling of inexplicable love seizes me and I feel like I can go on again.

I suppose this cycle will continue till the day I die.

Photographer and writer

“Fifteen years ago, I stopped being a writer and became a photographer. 
On a sweltering New York August day, I was writing about winter in Japan. Writers, it seemed, didn’t have to go to the places they wrote about. 

I became a photographer because photographers did have to be where they
 wanted to take pictures, or at least their cameras did.”
– Charles Harbutt

I want to be a photographer so I can go to places. But I also want to be a writer so I can think about the places I’ve been to. Living and thinking. Thinking and writing. Writing and living.

The sabbatical (and now a forced one because of COVID-19) is working. I really want to get back to taking photos now. I feel not simply rested but energised and motivated. And I really want to write about the photos I have taken. I think that’s becoming quite clear—and it was this part I wanted to make clear to myself during this period. What is my one thing? What is the thing that I thought was missing from my photography? This might be it. Words were missing from my photography.

Words help me to make sense of this world—they are how I think. I believe they can also help me to create photography work that is deeper and more meaningful. I wrote last year that I don’t want to continue to take only beautiful photos for commercial clients. I want to go further into the world and do work that can move the needle. Which needle? That’s part of what I must find out for myself. But I wanna grow as a photographer and a human being. My camera MUST be a tool that helps to bring about positive change in this world, and to do that I have to be uncomfortable and walk into new and unfamiliar territories.

Growth is uncomfortable. But staying the same is worse.

I am reminding myself to discard all my superficial ideas about what constitutes positive change. I’m also reminding myself to learn, learn, learn, and to be like water as I continue to grow into a photographer-writer who can create work that makes this world a slightly kinder place for other human beings.

The road is long. But I’m taking one step forward now. I think each new step will bring me more clarity and confidence, so wish me luck!