I am standing at a crossroads. Now that I have completed my doctorate, I am contemplating whether to continue with freelance photography & filming work or to return to the academic world. I have been consumed by this over the past few months & to make it even more complicated, I have also have been struck by the amount of work offers that have come in since my graduation from races & brands with assignment offers to keep me more than busy over the next few months. This only makes me consider the next step even more carefully.
With all the down time over Christmas & New Year that has been well seasoned with those ‘quiet moments’, one particular ingredient that I have been considering is ‘loyalty’. Central to this has been the consideration of what this actually means on a personal level, how this has been extended to me by others & has consequentially shaped my business decisions. As I mulled this over, I once again became very aware of how this stirs something deep within me & it is no stroke of luck that the last character in my Chinese name is 忠 which means ‘faithfulness’ or ‘loyalty’ and appears on my Hong Kong Identity Card as my legal Chinese name. I deliberately chose this character as this is a quality that has always meant a lot to me.
When I started out with this photography idea, I did not have much to show. I wasn’t known. I was just a quirky social sciences university lecturer who loved messing with cameras. So, when I rocked up on Sunset Peak during September 2012 to take shots of the Lantau 2 Peaks runners as they sped past, I had enough silent cockiness to believe that I could shoot decent enough photos that were going to make folk notice what I could do when I posted them on my brand new Facebook page. People did take notice, and so this mad journey began where I started to be invited to work with events & brands. I was grateful for this early trust and willingness to take a punt with me during those early days and I always felt a keen sense of loyalty to these races and brands over the subsequent years.
During these recent quiet moments, I have realised that it is this sense of loyalty that shapes a lot of what I do & the decisions I have made over the subsequent years. Is that just me or is this human nature? When folk have been loyal, then I go the extra mile. Plus one more mile. And then another mile.
There are certain events or brand clients who can call me anytime & I will bend over backwards to make it work for them and jump on a plane to go anywhere & shoot images for them. They have shown faith over the years. Likewise, there are other events who you work with & then they may drop you as a photographer for whatever reason. Usually a business reason such as another shooter might have more of a social media following than you & so they give the gig to them. That’s cold business & that’s happened to me. I’m okay with that as my chin has been through enough to be able to take it and I understand the sober and calculated business rationale that shapes these decisions but I will choose to work with others in the future.
What about you? Are your decisions shaped by ‘loyalty to you’ and ‘by you’?
I have no idea how 2019 will turn out but I’d like to look back & remember it as the year that was marked by ‘忠’
Upcoming races & assignments that I will be shooting during January & February 2019:
- Vibram Hong Kong 100
- Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge
- Filming the remaining parts of Rungkopi on Mt Kinabalu.
- 2 other brand assignments that I can’t disclose right now 🙂