Flipping through each year’s yearbook (AKA the school magazine), or through ECHO, ACSpress, or perhaps browsing through the photos taken of a school event – have you ever thought: “I think my photos can be up there too”, or “OMG this is an amazing photo can some senpai teach me how to make this”? If it has, there’s a good chance you should join Photog, or the Photographic Society!
The Photographic Society was founded with the aim of recording major school events and functions, but it has evolved since its inception many decades ago into a CCA which, in addition to its original intention, trains and provides the necessary tools (read: DSLRs, lenses and accessories) to its members to blossom into creators of new perspectives.
The schedule of the year is similar to many other CCAs – meetings/trainings, ExCo elections midyear, as well as Senior’s Farewell. In addition to those, we host and plan the annual Singapore Young Photographer’s Convention, usually near the beginning of August, as well as compete in student category of the nationwide Canon PhotoMarathon (VERY attractive prizes), and of course, serving as photographers in many school events.
Training involves 2 parts – tutorial style instruction, as well as hands on experience. It starts off with our dedicated trainers teaching, for example, the use of external flashes (which are those removable things that can easy blind someone for a while) or the subject of framing your subject and various other techniques. This is then followed by some time in groups trying out what was taught. The occasional guest speaker also comes by, and once a year, Canon comes down to conduct a training session as well.
Joining the club this year, I found commitments rather flexible, complementing my schedule well – shoot 2 events that I’ll most likely already have to participate in. I also attended regular Wednesday meetings, booked the events I wanted to shoot at through Google forms, and received weekly newsletters via email about the CCA’s ongoings. After an event, I sorted through the stuff and uploaded it to Google Drive from the comfort of my own home.
It’s fantastic having a group of like-minded people who love shooting people and other things (with a camera, of course), being able to talk shop and exchange tips and ideas. It’s also a great feeling to wander around an event as an official rather than just glued to my seat, not slacking off but capturing those photos that others see after an event or on a publication. Granted, I did feel terrified during my first official event (ACares) with a great deal of pressure to capture the perfect photos (failing to do so many times obviously), but as I did more events in and out of school, I felt much more confident and secure in my abilities, and realised that photography is but an everlasting journey of learning and self-discovery, not just limited to that one event – there’s always more to come, more chances to do better.
To end off, photographers indeed are a strange breed of people, occasionally creepy and annoying, oftentimes quiet and strange, but you’ll thank them later – be it the moment you see that A+ (or maybe crappy) photo of yourself at an event, or the decades down the road going through Facebook and relieving the memories of that fateful day you decided to take a leap of faith and grin for the camera. Be that person who was there to capture those moments for others, and bring a smile to their faces.
Jared Ng (6.13) is from the graduating batch of 2016.
Photo taken by Jensen Chua