Photo Kit: This is the end


  • TECH
  • Saturday, 15 Apr 2017

Self-portrait with foldable bike.

As you may well have guessed, photography has been an all-consuming passion of mine since I was a child.

One of my earliest memories at the tender age of six (and that was in the 1970s) was seeing one of those plastic cameras in the supermarket toy department and badgering my father to get it for me.

This wasn’t just any toy, mind you – for about RM60 if I recall, you got a plastic camera that you could load real 35mm film into and take photos.

Never mind that the shutter was fixed at one speed and the lens was probably a single-element plastic lens that produced horrendously soft images, I just wanted to take photos.

My dad, being an avid photographer himself, rightly or wrongly refused to get me this plastic toy camera – what stopped me badgering him was when he promised that when I was older, he’d hand me a real camera to use.

I actually didn't get one till I was about 12 years old – a wonderful Fujica drive half frame camera which I featured in my very first Photo Kit column.

The reason I’m reminiscing is that as I was looking through my old stories, I just realised that it’s been almost exactly four years since I started writing it – the first one premiered on April 9, 2013!

I remember clearly that when my editor gave me the opportunity to write a column about any topic I wanted, I naturally drifted to what I really wanted to write about most – cameras and photography.

I can’t believe that I’ve been writing it on an almost regular schedule for four years now.

Motorcyclist taking a break in Hanoi, Vietnam, 2012.

I can honestly say that writing Photo Kit has been one of the major highlights of my life – I sometimes struggled with coming up with ideas for it, but once that was sorted out, it’s always been a joy to write.

In fact, when I started writing it I didn’t know whether people actually read it or not although I would occasionally get an e-mail from someone commenting or asking me about a column that I wrote.

It wasn’t until we started posting the stories on Facebook that I actually found out that some of my columns were actually widely read or shared (although many certainly weren’t).

Well, I would already be happy even if just one person read it.

This of course, brings me to today’s topic and there’s no way to sugarcoat it – this Photo Kit will be the last one.

It’s not that I’ve been too busy or have run out of topics related to photography to write about.

The reason is that I’m “moving on to the next phase of my career” – take that to mean what you want but the change means that I will no longer be able to write a regular Photo Kit column.

There are many things I will miss with my change in career, but stopping this column will be the one that I will miss most.

Anyway I hope that readers will have gotten some useful insight into photography and cameras from my articles. If not, at least I enjoyed writing them.

So it’s with a heavy heart that I say goodbye in this last Photo Kit on the anniversary of the first article – keep shooting and maybe we’ll meet someday, somewhere.

If you meet me, do say hi and tell me that you’ve read my column before.

Tan Kit Hoong (tankh@thestar.com.my) is a journalist who's been an enthusiastic photographer longer than he's been reporting tech news and this column will be the last one in which he rambles on about cameras and photography.

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