Life after Olympus

I left Olympus Malaysia not too long ago, which came as a surprise to many, and subsequently Ming Thein on this awesome photography site as an active contributor. Since then, I’ve been asked by many curious people how my life has been, what I’ve been doing, which manufacturer I’ve jumped ship to (Sony? Fujifilm? *gasp*) and how the hell I can still afford that expensive cup of coffee?

For starters, no, there’s no Fuji and no Sony. And I am also trying to cut down on my caffeine addiction.

While I have quit my job as a product specialist, I am still actively involved with Olympus Malaysia as an external trainer they engage for consumer photography workshops and photowalks. This means I work on weekends mostly, and for the past 2 months I have been frequently traveling to Kuching, Johor Bahru and Penang to conduct various photography workshops, in addition to the many consumer events in Kuala Lumpur itself. Interacting with consumers and photographers who share the same passion is something I enjoy tremendously. I have so much to share and being able to continue doing this brings great satisfaction. If you’ve been following my work you know I am happiest when I am out holding a camera and shooting away.

Getting to do that with like-minded people and get paid for it, what more can I ask for?


Group photo of one of the recent photowalks in Kuala Lumpur

Several people have also assumed that I was headhunted by another company Sony or Fujifilm being the most popular guesses. While my ego wishes I was poached by these companies, the main reason I quit Olympus was so that I can spend more time out on the streets shooting images. Since I am no longer employed full time, I need to pay more attention to income from photography gigs. I shoot all kinds of assignments, from birthday parties to weddings, some corporate events and even product photography – as long as the pay is fair and commensurate with the requirements of the assignment, I provide my skills. I’ve been fortunate since some of my photography friends have helped me secure jobs (if you are reading this, you know who you are, thanks!) but as a full time photographer, I have a long way to go in terms of career development. I’ve been taking it one job at a time and so far, things are going well. I think reality is starting to finally sink in – I am now a full-time professional photographer.


I was involved in shooting behind the scenes stills for a music video production for Bihzhu, during the recent Hari Raya celebration.


Also did a wedding shoot for Andy and Beth in Kuching


Covered a convocation shoot, on ground at the International Medical University


Simply, simply love capturing moments like this!

On days that I’m not busy on assignment, I roam the streets doing what I love most: shutter therapy. To me, shutter therapy is extremely important and is not simply about spending time indulging my passion but also about exploring, experimenting and growing my photography. How can I improve my game if I don’t spend time trying out new ideas, visualizing a different approach and developing a new concept? Now that I have a little more control over my time I make sure I spend enough time shooting just for myself, and it has been rewarding.

No longer tied to a camera manufacturer, I now have the freedom to roam freely, and I have had the opportunity to attend events by other camera brands. I have had the opportunity to meet an award winning documentary film-maker, Griffin Hammond, speaking at the Panasonic GH5 event and Ben Lowy, a war photographer and photo-journalist at a Sony A9 launch event. I have learnt a great deal attending such events and meeting inspirational people such as Griffin and Ben, who shared their experience openly and passionately.


Conversation with Ben Lowy, a war photographer.


Kevin Crandall from Lowepro speaking at a recent product launch in Malaysia.

Last but not least, I am also deepening my involvement with the local community, helping out and lending my photography services whenever I can. I photographed a local spoken word event in Kuching, where talented, local wordsmiths came together to share their poetry, short stories and other spoken pieces on stage. I am also helping out a non-profit project which coincides with the Malaysian independence day celebrations. There will be a few photography exhibitions in Kuala Lumpur and Kuching (my hometown) that I will be taking part in. More information will be provided as and when available.


Word of Mouth 9: Hunger, a spoken words event in Kuching, Sarawak.


Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, socio-political activist and writer.

Being able to experiment, explore, meet new and inspiring people and have the  opportunity to shoot more over the past few months is more than I expected and could have asked for post-Olympus. There is only one constant in the life of a photographer, – the continuing need to shoot, shoot and shoot. Whether it is shooting for a job, or demonstrating a technique at a workshop, or shooting for the fun of it, the camera should not stop clicking.

As long as I live, shutter therapy goes on!

__________________

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Images and content copyright Robin Wong 2017 onwards. All rights reserved

Comments

  1. All the best to you Robin and keep on shooting!

  2. Glad that you are doing well Robin. All the best!

    Give me a buzz if one day you come down to Singapore to do some shutter therapy.

  3. Glad that you are finally free from being tied up by one brand and do shutter therapy more with us.
    Until the next shutter therapy sessions and events.

  4. Coisas EM'adeira says:

    Hi there, and good luck for your journey!

    I’ve been appreciating this blog philosophy for a while and your views -in my opinion- just reinforce it!

    May i suggest a topic for a ‘post reflection’? I know Ming Thein updated the “Recommendation Gear” section but for the shutter therapy on a budget what are your thoughts on older Olympus OMD models like the M 5 MKI and so on?

    Thanks for your time!

  5. Just a “HELLOW’ from Ian and Maggie in SYDNEY.

  6. nice knowing you, robin, thanks for sharing. ken/

  7. Paul Howard says:

    Thank you for all your advice on Olympus.

  8. Which camera and lens spec would you recommend for food product shot?

    • I think your main concern will not be camera or lens, but more on lighting, and setup (background, food styling, etc). Invest in good lighting setup, either constant light or flash.

  9. Glad to hear that you are being busy enough with paid gigs! I love your work! GL in the future as well.

  10. Thanks for the update on your life. I understand your wish to be independent and I hope you make a o of it.

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