How did I go from creating the most in-depth photography tutorials in the world, to taking photos of my feet with an iPhone? This post talks a bit about why I made the decision to shift from high end education to producing light-hearted entertainment.
Episode 2 of “Moments in Time” was published on YouTube this past Tuesday and it featured me working through a pretty funny photography challenge. The goal was to take a photo of my feet in an interesting way, which led me to lie down on the hot and dirty pavement in Singapore while carefully getting a shot with my iPhone. I think this was probably about the same moment that everyone who was watching discovered that “Moments in Time” is nothing like my Photographing The World in-depth tutorial series.
So that begs the question, how did I go from creating premium educational videos about landscape and cityscape photography to lying on the pavement with an iPhone to make a silly photo?
1. I wanted to create something new.
First and foremost, I wanted to create something new – a different type of project that would challenge me both as a creative and as a storyteller. With the Photographing The World Photography Tutorials, I play the part of an educator rather than a host. We visit some of the most beautiful places in the world and I meticulously describe every aspect of the photographic process from start to finish, both in the field and in post-processing. While the tutorials are definitely entertaining, I don’t consider them to be entertainment or ready for the mainstream since they dive so far into the technical side of photography. Though they are fun to watch, it’s not a casual viewing experience, and most importantly, photography tutorials only focus on the locations to get the content of the photography lesson across. Tutorials don’t share all of the other experiences that go along with taking the photo.
With “Moments in Time”, I really wanted to challenge myself to create more variety than just photography education. I wanted to create a window into the lives of not just myself, but other photographers all over the world. It’s a show about freely sharing knowledge with one another, and that isn’t just photography techniques, it’s also about sharing experiences, stories, passions, and everything that fuels our desire to take photos. Though the show’s staple is photography—and education is a large part of that—it’s also a travel show that focuses on the moments in time that make the photos we capture special. Most importantly, I don’t want “Moments in Time” to take itself too seriously. It should be fun, uplifting, and entertaining.
In fact, that’s probably one of the reasons I’m lying on the ground and shooting with my iPhone. It’s pretty much impossible to take that too seriously. 😉
2. I wanted to create something to be given away for free and accessible to everyone.
I’ve spent the greater part of 4 years creating the Photographing The World Photography tutorials, and while they’re certainly a full spectrum source of education, they’re also a premium product and only available via a paid download. While they more than justify their cost with the quality of educational content, it also means that the only people that can benefit from the content are the ones who purchase it.
I wanted “Moments in Time” to be 100% free and available to everyone. That’s why I decided that YouTube would be the best platform to use. It has sort of become the commonplace to find free entertainment and education. It’s also not subscription based so anyone can access it, anywhere, and anytime.
3. I wanted “Moments in Time” to be honest.
This is probably one of the most important elements for me, being honest in both content and in context. I’m not playing a role in this series, I’m just being myself, and that gives me total creative control over the show. I’m not constricted to creating serious photography tutorials or heavily technical educational segments where I have to be spot on with technical data. With Moments in Time, the idea is to have fun because that’s the honest reality of what I do for a living. While I’m a photographer, my life isn’t just about the photos I’m taking, my life is a collection of everything that happens in between the frames. It’s about the people I meet, the stories I share, and the community I build all over the world. There’s nothing more honest than just being yourself in public, dropping your guard and sharing a real window into who you are and what you’re passionate about.
This doesn’t mean that I won’t drop technical knowledge and content here and there. It just means that I won’t let it get in the way of telling a great story. We can still learn and have fun at the same time. I’d even draw a comparison to how we can watch a show about food, not because we are chefs, but because we can all find a commonality with the love of traveling and trying new things.
These days with our access to a camera on nearly every smart device, we are all photographers whether we identify as one or not. This is an honest window into my life of a travel photographer, how we can improve our photos, and most importantly, how we can enjoy all of the moments in time between the images we capture.
4. I wanted to give back to the community that has given me so much.
Traveling full-time for the past 10 years, I’ve grown so much as a person because of the wonderful people I’ve met along the way. It’s those friendships that have shaped me into who I am today and those connections and experiences are something that I wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world.
Though I’m the host of this show, “Moments in Time” isn’t about me. It’s meant to showcase beautiful locations and the wonderful people who live there. It’s about connecting with one another and creating lasting memories–building community all over the world and showing the true beauty of our incredible planet though the common bond of photography.
“Moments in Time” is a way for me to—at least in some small part—show my love and appreciation to the global photography community that has helped me feel at home, no matter where in the world I happened to be.
5. I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone
I love being an educator and this show is designed to teach me new things about myself and also challenge me to learn how to present them in a new way.
The best way to grow as an artist is to step outside of our comfort zones and challenge ourselves with something new. Sometimes we need to embrace the random to see what new knowledge is there to be gained. And sometimes that means lying on the ground to get that perfect foot selfie!
If you missed “Moments in Time” Episode Two, check out the video and short recap below.
In episode two, we’ll pay a quick visit to one of my favorite street food stalls on Clarke Quay, then head to The Marina Bay Sands Mall to beat the midday heat wave, photograph the Rain Oculus and learn about the benefits of shooting raw vs jpeg. After that, my director surprises me with a visit to a new location, Haw Par Villa, where I’ll be faced with a unique and fairly ridiculous photography challenge in one of the strangest places I’ve ever visited.
We’ll wrap things up with a sunset and blue hour cityscape shoot from the Peninsula Excelsior Hotel. Along with my friend Edward Adios, and his collection of vintage Fujifilm Film cameras, we do side-by-side using both film and digital, before a visit to the film processing lab to learn the steps for developing positive film.
Moments in Time – Flickr Community
In addition to the series, I wanted to create a way to connect with the community online, interact and continue the conversation. The Moments in Time Flickr Community is the perfect place to post images, ask us questions, and interact with the content from the show. We’re hoping that it also gives the community a way of becoming part of future episodes by helping direct us to new places and new people to highlight that you’d like to see featured. Definitely join the community to introduce yourself and say hello and to receive sneak previews and special content!
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