Professional singaporean photographer based in shanghai,china. Does photography for china, singapore and asia. http://www.rolento.com

“Those years in Shanghai” – part 1, “那些年在上海” - 第一集

Part 1 – Why i come to shanghai

第一集 - 为什么来上海

It was 2 years after I turned into full time professional photographer.

当时,我成为全职的专业摄影师才两年。

to be frank one of the reason why I decided to be a full time photographer then was with the right projects, I can earn enough money quick enough to fund my own feature film (although at that time, I have no idea how my feature script would be like), without any investors and thus, no one will fcuk with my script and vision.

坦白说,我成为全职摄影师的其中一个原因是我觉得只要主攻对的摄影项目,我就能很快的赚够钱来资助我想拍的电影 (虽然当时,我不知道我的电影要拍什么),不用任何的投资方,也就不会有人来左右我的剧本和风格。

Of course, I could work in a bank too to earn cash quick but at that time, I thought I should do something related  film making to polish my eyes, lighting skills and visual sense.

当然,我也可以在银行上班然后很快地赚很多钱来拍电影,但是我想最好还是做和电影有关的行业以便训练我的视角,灯光技巧和视觉感。

And of course, the other main reason was I love photography…duh.

再当然,另外一个理由就是我热爱摄影。。废话。

However, two years into working as a professional photographer IN SINGAPORE had me thinking otherwise.

然而,在新加坡做了两年的专业摄影师让我有了另外的想法。

There were only a few areas of photography that a young photographer like me can do to earn money quick to make a feature film…at least that was what a 27 yrs old me perceived. Advertising or wedding photography.

对于一个新人,只有几个摄影领域能让我在够短的时间赚够钱拍电影,至少在当时27岁的我是这么想的;广告和婚纱摄影

both were not possible for me…

两个对我来说都不可能

advertising photography is not a field you can get in just because you want to. Having worked in a agency before as a copywriter and followed to a few shoots with my art director tells me the initial investment is quite substantial. and even if I have that kind of money to set up a studio and buy a digital back, advertising in singapore…was not…fun. one just need to look at the ads made by taiwan, thai, hong kong ad agencies and you know what “fun” is. I foresaw a life similar to working in a bank if I were to go this way.

广告摄影的领域并不是我想进去就能进去的。之前在广告公司当兼职文案的时候就和艺术总监去过几次摄影现场,前期的投资不是一个小数目。再说,就算我有钱弄个大的摄影棚,买个数码后背,新加坡的广告真的是“不好玩”。任何人只要看了台湾,泰国,香港的广告就知道什么是“好玩”的广告。我想如果我在新加坡主攻这一块,会不会变得和在银行上班一样无聊?

wedding photography in singapore just somehow did not came across as something I can do everyday to save up enough for my feature film. I can see myself getting bored after taking photos for 10 couples

新加坡的婚纱摄影在当时给我的感觉就是我不可能做这个直到我存够钱拍电影。我预测拍了10对新人后我就会开始觉得难熬了。

and of course there are the highly lucrative “annual report photographer”.  making board of directors look good to their shareholders and beautify their factories and facilities. I did twice such shoots and began to feel repeating such jobs will stifle my creativity and eventually have enough money to make a feature film with no creativity in it.

当然,还有当时预算很高的“公司年鉴报告摄影”,把董事们都拍的好看,把工厂设施都美化的案子。我做了两次后,觉得如果一直拍这个,会不会抑制我的创意,到时候变成有钱,但是只能拍没有创意的电影?

actually the reasons above are not something that I cannot overcome then. I wasn’t thinking about doing something that pays big money with no sacrifice and near my home. projects like this don’t exist.

其实以上的理由我都能克服。我当时并不是想找个钱多事少离家近的领域,因为我知道不会有。

I thought to myself, “maybe you just need a new environment”

我对自己说,“可能你只需要一个新的环境”

I got a few options that turned out to be non options

我给自己几个选择,都变成不是选择

Hong Kong – I can’t speak cantonese (this was in 2003-4), and the Hong Kong market wasn’t much bigger than singapore

香港-我不会说粤语(当时是2003-4年),而且当时的香港市场和新加坡也差不多大。

Taiwan – Too Hard to work there as a foreigner because of their strict laws protecting their own labour

台湾-太难在这里以外国人的身份工作,因为台湾很保护本地劳工

Japan – I can’t speak Japanese

日本-我不会说日语

China – I don’t want to get killed by the red army

中国-我不想被红军杀了

So just when I was starting to prepare myself to get used to the singapore photography environment, my good friend, Andy, via ICQ or MSN, told me Shanghai is really not what I thought its like.

就当我开始准备认命适应新加坡的摄影环境是,我的好朋友,Andy,在ICQ 或MSN上告诉我,上海并不是我想的那样。

Andy was already working in shanghai for one year in a singapore GLC company, and he offered me free lodging in shanghai at his apartment for my stay there. He proposed a 2 weeks trip there to really learn about this city.  It was meant to be a “checking things out” and “try to network” trip to shanghai

Andy当时已经在上海的一家新加坡的国营企业上班一年。他说我去上海的时候能住在他家里,他建议我去上海两个星期,好让我好好的认识上海这个城市。这本来就是个主要以“走马看花” 和  “扩展人脉”的旅程

Surprising, things turn out to be smoother than I thought.

很意外的,进展比我想像的顺利。

Within a week of checking things out in shanghai, clubbing with Andy, sending emails, expat meet ups sessions, I actually had a small local china advertising company willing to work together with me. They would provide me with lodging, meals, and even a small studio with china brand lights for free. They would get photography projects from their current advertising clients and we will split the profit. I don’t know what their client will ask me to shoot, but it sounded more to me like someone is going to pay for my first adventure in life more than anything esle.

在上海的第一个星期里,除了和Andy泡吧,发电邮,参加外派人员聚会,我居然找到一个愿意和我合作的本地小广告公司。他们会免费提供住宿,三餐,还有一个用中国品牌的闪光灯的小摄影棚。他们会从现有的广告客户中开发摄影的案子,然后赚的钱平分。我其实不知道他们的现有客户会叫我拍什么,但是当时的我觉得这更象有一个人在为我人生的一次探险埋单。

It was 2004 June…why not?

当时是2004年6月。。。有何不可?

——————————————–

“Those years in Shanghai” is a trial book project attempt to test if there’s enough people who are interested in my 8 years adventure in shanghai for me to publish a photo book cum china experience book. This book would comprises of my works in shanghai for the past 8 years, personal or commercial with short stories on the various china experiences I have had. If you think you would spend money to buy a photo book with my china/shanghai experience in it, please leave a comment

“那些年在上海” 是个出书尝试,测试是否有人对我在上海八年来的历险有足够的兴趣让我出版这个摄影画册兼中国经验书。这本书将会有我在上海这8年所拍的个人与商业作品,以及一些描述我的中国经历的散文。如果你觉得你会花钱买这样的书,请留个言

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