Sub-Tropical Boy In The North Country…..

It has been little more than two years since I’ve been in Vancouver and though for the most part I’ve somewhat adopted the life here, there is still aspects of life which I still having hard time to cope with. Of all things I can’t cope with living in Vancouver winter is perhaps on the top of the list……although its not the physical environment of the winter I despised.

Being lived in many part of the world from tropics to temperate climate I could say I’m very good at adopting weathers regardless of hot humid sun or snow(though my preferable weather has always been ones similar to San Francisco). To prove my point I spent last two winters under the snow both in Canada and South Korea and though its troublesome when it comes to commuting and shelving but I absolutely love the scenery. But I guess it’s all the warm clothes wrapped around me or the cozy room temperature or something I always felt as if I entered into “hybernation mode” when winter hits. It gets worse further up north I go(well…duh….) even being busy working would not make my sleepy lazy head go away.
Anyway, according to weather tomorrow’s going to snow……..hope I’ll be conscious enough to realize I wrote post this blog tonight.

Boiling Point

Last week some of photogs met with our employer to discuss about current state of the studio. Issues like shooters pulled out to shoot on location which cause studio stretched thin and overbooking which sacrificed our break. As I sit and listen to my co-workers presented these problems I could not help to shake my head for the response from the employer. He just pulled out a data sheet and said everything worked out fine. Not only that he was accusing us for being slacking around when he comes down (On the note, he usually comes down around the time when we were not busy) and wants photogs not to come at same time for their shifts. He gave an example of the same rule implemented with CSRs at front counter which helped the productivity and most importantly happier employees.

On that note, the example my employer was given at the front counter certainly did not convince me because if system worked perfectly fine why nearly half of the CSRs hired this summer left by now? And does he not know data does not often reflect reality?

Anyway, the only good news came out of me in the mist of all these is that I’ve been promoted to be a supervisor(at short notice)…..something that should happen but came in the time when most of the photogs including me are thinking about not coming back for the next season.

Crunch Time

For the last month or so the photography studio I’m working in faced a severe shortage in shooters doing on location. This comes when grad photo requests just reach to its climax and orders started to come in like madness so any shortage in hand would put a burden on all of us. It certainly does.

The studio which I’m currently working is specialize in grad photos, which is one of few photography business that can actually make money in Vancouver. It divides its shooter into two teams during the grad photo season which is studio and on location. I’ve been hired for shooting studio for quite some time now and was never thought about shooting on location. But in the last few weeks most of shooters responsible for on location resigned en masse due to miscommunication in pay rate between management and photographers. Desperate to get the job done management started to pull shooters from studio team out for on location which put us in stretch as far as number of available shooters we can put in studio (just to give you an example for the last week studio was one shooter short because I was on location and supervisor had to cover the job of missing shooter while oversee the work flow). Then yesterday a supervisor was seriously ill while one shooter was pulled out for on location. The result? Me along with the rest of shooters in the morning sacrifice our lunch break and pushed it through till evening shift shooters came by and relief us.

So what do I think of this? I think there need to be a clean up in the management because for the last year or so I have never seen a clear direction from them. But the worse of all the way management trying to squeeze its employees and talented people is just terrifying. For instance while studio in similar business in town offer competitive base rate for shooters this one still resisting on raise the base rate even to a dollar. Not to mention short while ago when we started to feel the stretch the management still think they can squeeze it though the rest of the season.

Now you wonder why very few shooters stayed more than 3 years.

PDN Artiicle on Group M35

The long awaited article on the short lived Photographic Agency Group M35 is finally out on This month’s issue of PDN(Photo district News). It is also a relief because for months I’ve hoped to have this account go public because for what Charles Clark, the man who started all, had done to my friend (and colleague at the time) Joeseph Symanski as well as other fellow photographers. And thanks to him my career path on photography is currently on a detour……

Many thanks to Daryl Lang of PDN for putting his time and effort for this.

Link to the PDN article:

P.S. By the way, I think the photo published on the article captured my face(blury one on the left)…….

Reasons I Don’t(Or Still Not) Sign Up For Facebook

Not quite saying I won’t. But at this point I’m not in the mood of signing up for Facebook even though I received gazillion verbal recommandations and constant email invitation. Not to mention we’ve all seen this whole trend before with Myspace……so sooner or later people will move on to other social networking site.

I remember back in the days when i first sign up for Friendster I thought this is a great way to connect old friends. But then Friendsters quickly fell apart when people discovered Myspace….which to my personal opinion is a great layout disaster. As much joke as it is Myspace was a huge success and was really popular among teens. Then facebook came along……started by a university student who had very simple intention – connecting friends. The rest is hisory.

So will I sign up in the end? Possible. But I probably not going to put down anything other than my name and weblink for this site so I can redirect friends here since this is THE place where I’m active.

Although part of me still want to stay away from social networking site so I can stay invisible to some of old friends.

Obituary: Photojournalist Alexandra Boulat, 45

Lately there’s a quiet a few well known photographer or people who had significant role played in the history of photography passed away. But on the symbolic level it represents an end of the era, whether you like it or not. However this one hits me particularly hard since she passed away at prime.

An statement passed out on Oct. 05 to the public about photojournalist Alexandra Boulat from VII passed away in the hospital in France. She had suffered from brain aneurysm back in June while photographing in Gaza and never recovered after surgery.

My condolences goes to Alexandra, her the family and her friends at VII Photos.