The biggest compliment to a travel photographer

Strange to be writing two consecutive posts about biggest compliments to a photographer… blessed, I really am.

This time however, is more of a lifelong-dream-come-true kinda post :P A while back, the random Flickrite that I am was uploading some shots (which I’ve not been doing much lately, to be honest :( ) when I chanced across the Lonely Planet group that I’m in. The challenge was ‘Spirals’ & I just shrugged and added a tag to one of my all-time fave shots.

It’s a shot of the Simonetti Staircase, at the very end of your visit to Vatican Museum you will have to walk down it to exit the epic complex where you’ve walked close to 2 hours (and perhaps queued more than that!) to see all the wonderful art, sculpture & of course, the piece de la resistance that is Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. More often or not, it is not noticed it at all.

So, one fine morning I had an email waiting for me when I stirred from slumber. I had to re-read it a few times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming still!

It was an email from Mark, the man in the Lonely Planet office in Melbourne.

“Congratulations on winning the Spiral challenge.
Please let me know which book you’d like as your prize.
Also, is it possible for us to feature your photo on an LP blog? The online editorial team have started showing off the winners here.”

I nearly fell off my chair. LONELY PLANET???? MY PHOTO??? ON THEIR BLOG???? YOU NEED NOT EVEN ASK!!!!

As an avid traveller & photographer, there is nothing more holy grail than that (to me anyway) – Lonely Planet needs no introduction, I own a few of their books, checks their forums religiously each time before I leave for a country that I’ve never been to before, was in fact still smarting over the fact that I could not qualify as one of their full-time image contributors (it’s a HUGE commitment)…. and now, having my photo published on their blog?

I really needed to pinch myself. And made sure I didn’t squeal too loudly. And to stop doing the chicken dance.


Anyway, here is the shot :)

Thanks to all the lovely comments, encouragements & support. It comes as the highest compliment to have your work appreciated by so many, and I am always thankful for that & will continue to strive to share more light & words from the globetrotting journeys!

PS* If you are wondering which copy of Lonely Planet book I ended up choosing as my prize, it was a really tough choice between ‘South America on a Shoestring’ & ‘Trans-Siberian Railway’ <— freakin’ cool, right?

But being the Asian that I am, I went for the ambitious South America on a Shoestring bumper copy! More (continental?) destination insprirations ahead ;)

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The biggest compliment to a photographer

A while back, I was approached by a famous architecture firm to capture a series of photos of their project for an award submission.

The challenge was to capture the architecture while the people using its spaces. A building is nothing unless its layout & design are benefiting its user. The idea behind the project was to have seamless integration of spaces for the students & allowing them to study/work/play/learn all under the same space and I must say, it is amazing to see these happen & giving soul to the architectural spaces! This is also the first University campus that integrates many elements that a campus should have (common in the West, rare in the East), setting the bar for other educational institutions in the region to follow suit.

Now that they have bagged the PAM (Malaysia Architectural Association) Gold Award 2011, here are some shots to share.

Heartiest congratulations to NWKA for winning the PAM Gold Award & thank you for the opportunity to capture the heart & soul of this landmark project :)

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Japan: Celebrating Hope & Beauty



UPDATE: More info on event on Facebook event page!

Friends were joking that I seem to be the luckiest person recently: returning from Egypt 2 weeks before the revolution riots begun, and 2 weeks before the massive 9.0 earthquake struck north-eastern Japan, bringing along a shocking tsunami that devastated much of the area & putting the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant at risk of meltdowns.

For a person that has an outlook of the-glass-is-half-full, I’m thankful that I was not in those countries when the incidents struck. But the harder part for me is to see these countries whom I have grown to love during my time there, as many of its people that shared so much with us & showing us their amazing hospitality became friends, and now for them to be part of the calamity.

On 11 March, when friends started messaging me about my good timing & whether my friends are safe in Japan, only then I realised something huge has happened. One check of the news quickly made my heart sank, and after a round of calls to Japan I was relieved that everyone was safe as they were in Tokyo & mainly, Kansai.

However, when I saw the footages of the tsunami later that evening, only then it truly sank in how devastating it was. I just sat there crying, for the destruction was so, so swift that I kept thinking it could’ve happened to my friends, both Japanese & non-Japanese, whom I’ve grew to love during my time there.

But Japan has shown us how resilient she is, as news reports over the next week shown how the people are helping each other through this difficult time, with a commonly overheard phrase of ‘we are all in this together, so let’s help each other through it’.

That, sums up Japan for me – strong, resilient & UNITED.

So, instead of focusing on devastation & sadness, I’ve decided to celebrate this amazing country & to help its people who are in dire need of our help, by selling my Japanese images printed on canvas (courtesy of My Canvas Prints, which is very gracious & is donating all profit of sales from this fundraiser) to raise funds, where all profit will be donated to International Foundation of Red Crescent (IFRC) – the organization which is working with the Japanese government in search, rescue & humanitarian efforts.

At this time where prayers are appreciated but real action to make a difference is way more urgently required to help them through this difficult time, we sincerely hope that you will join us in celebrating Japan’s beauty & giving hope back to their people by owning pieces of art which focuses on positivity whilst helping those who have lost EVERYTHING to rebuild their lives again.

So, come by & have a chat with us on the day, or if you’d like to put in your order, kindly contact us:

Japan: Celebrating Hope & Beauty – Fundraiser to help Japanese people of 11 March 2011 Earthquake & Tsunami

Date & Time: 2 April 2011 (Saturday), 3 – 7pm

Venue: My Canvas Prints Gallery (Lot F105A, 1st Floor, Centrepoint, Lebuh Bandar Utama, Bandar Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor) – just go up the escalator outside Starbucks & you’ll see MCP)

What’s up on the day: Thank you & slideshow of images by Huey Yoong, sales & custom order of images + canvas sizes. Orders are also available from now through to May if you can’t make the event, please drop by the gallery to see image collection & canvas sizes available. The images available to be printed is up on our Facebook event page, as well as here where you can select the images & place your order. MCP ship internationally too, so the folks overseas can help too!

ALL profit from sales will be donated to IFRC, which will go directly into efforts in search, rescue & humanitarian use in Japan.

Any enquiries, please contact me at huey[dot]yoong[at]gmail[dot]com or leave a comment here.

A huge thanks to My Canvas Prints for its generous support of use of gallery, donation of all profit from this fundraiser & swift concordance so this could happen in such a short time!

Also a big thanks to my good friend, Su which have shared her Japan images from her 7 years stay there as well for this event :)

Looking forward to all your generosity in giving HOPE back to our Japanese friends!

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