24hrs : 03mins : 52sec {to go}


Approx. 400 mins of audio
More than 700 photos

Why the @#$% can’t they edit-process-edit further?!?

The requirements. No, make it the INSTRUCTIONS were:
12 mins audio; three 4 mins audio cuts to be precise.
24 to 30 photos max

Why the @#$% can’t they edit-process-edit further?!?
You totally get the outburst now.

I’m pouring through contact sheets now.
Squinting …

Squinting …….but gleefully using a red felt tip marker ‘X‘-ing the obvious NOs!!!!
I get angrier as I progress.
Why the @#$% can’t they edit-process-edit further?!?
I bet if I were to cut the contact sheets and stack the photos and bind it into a book, and flip it through very quickly… {magic} the person is animated!

Second problem: EGO overtakes the client’s brief.
Look, I have no use of any of these technically brilliant shots if it does not follow the brief. If it does not support the story.

I do not need one hundred similar shots that when compiled as per above makes an animated movie.

I need 8 to 10 strong, compelling shots that can each stand on its own and make a statement. Or when compiled, tells an entire story. A photo essay …duuuhhHHH!

Not 3 similar art direction resulting in about 270 shots.

And when the brief says ‘no facial recognition’ … guess what? It mean exactly that! No freaking facial shots!!! And you guessed right. I have about 255 facial shots – close-up!

(oh ya ya! I get the impressive wrinkles! And sure… GREAT use and handling of your bloody 85mm 1.2f but WTF?!? what good are these 255 shots??? 255/270!)

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

So, there goes another project in the gutter if I had it my way. Regardless of how much financing I have personally contributed to the project. Quality is important.

But what happens when the client organization thinks the average shots are marvelous and suggest to drop the compelling shots?
What’s the editor’s stand point?
Where/When does the financier’s opinion count?
And should I get veto power being both the editor and financier???


Deep down I know that none of this would have happened if they had given me 100% control over the creative process and photographer selection.

Should I have been more assertive?
Care less about being perceived as the bitch who flexes the financial muscle?

But why should I care about opinions of imbeciles who actually thinks pro bono and NGO projects means free? Zero expenses. Zero production costs.

Or photographers who thinks they can do as they like since they are working pro bono?
Or client who thinks that the learning curve lies in having better equipment? After hours of listening to equipment-brag … trust me, equipment is not an issue.


One of the biggest challenges of doing humanitarian, NGO photo essay projects in this part of the world is: we lack humanitarian and post conflict photographers. Let alone having experienced ones.

Off my head, in Malaysia, I can only think of 2 that are worth considering. 2 that knows the game. 2 that will produce fantabulous, kick-arse shots that hits the bull’s eye and leave my mouth wide open in amazement. Minus the drama. Minus the equipment bragging. Minus the ‘what’s in for me?’ demands and whining.

Those that understand:

~ a person’s misery and plight is not for your opportunistic gain

If you want to scream and flash your name on the amazing shot you’ve taken on a huge billboard at the corner of Madison Square, listen, you are not cut for this type of work.

Although some messages may be less sensitive than others, RESPECT . RESPECT . RESPECT . still applies… errr… and a pinch of common sense and a dash of human decency!

If it’s a person’s life you are gambling with, I won’t allow it.

I am prepared to flush everything down the gutter and start from ground zero.
I can compromise on quality (to a certain extend), but I won’t tolerate opportunism at the expense of others. Not on my projects. Not a chance. So, take a hike ‘pal’.



6 thoughts on “24hrs : 03mins : 52sec {to go}

  1. hmmm… anonymous.i was going to leave penelope our usual sarcastic remark-banter until i read your comment and lost my train of thoughts.why do you remain anonymous? at least we have the guts to standup, take action and be responsible for our speech and action.

  2. You are rather harsh and opiniated, even rude, for someone who does so called volunteer charity work. I bet you won’t publish this comment anyway but I wanted to make a statement.

  3. what other assignments this year?i am sure you’ll do a fantastic job. you’ve got the heck of making horrible stuff and garbage into something lovely and workable.

  4. someone pissed you off?or a few?you must learn to relax babes! stop taking these NGO charity stuff so seriously… how’s the peptic ulcer?!? huh????you can be so silly and stubborn. i’ll sebat you when i get back.

  5. babe, totally know where you are coming from. that’s why i do the wedding photos mah.have you gone to balai seni? there’s some of YOUR type of photo exhibition there by red crescent.

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