Friday, August 26, 2011

Discrimination or fear?

I am someone that needs to be punched from time to time. And I was just punched by the photographer I've been assisting, so hard that it woke me up.

 Well, via email, he was making a joke about telling his sons that men were used to waiting for women, after I told him I hated being late for a meetup. I said women were already discriminated against in this male dominated industry,  and I didn't want to be treated differently than men.  Just a week before, I told him about my concern about discrimination against colored people, Chinese, and women in the photography business. So when he heard me talking about discrimination again, he said bluntly:" Stop caring! Give it up! It doesn't matter anymore. If you carry this thought as your excuse for not getting ahead or  getting a job, you don't get ahead.  When I don't get a job, I explain it as"fuck it" and move on. There's a lot of power in not caring!"  Right there, I was punched.

Sitting in front of the computer, I was stunned that someone just told me that.  Is there really no discrimination? Is it just the fear of being discriminated against that keeps us from getting ahead?

The Chinese don't like risk. We invest in real estate and education coz that's something that gives us return. Influenced by Confucius, Chinese people prefer stable and predictable lives. Before they do something, they always ask around to gather opinions from the elder or more experienced to lower risk and have someone to refer to when going down the path. Whether it's choosing a job, buying a house or deciding a major. When they ask around and find few knows about it, they tend to hesitate and step back to find something more popular and that has a set path. Take a look at the engineering department of universities across the US, I am sure you've noticed many Asian faces working hard late at night. For those areas that have few Chinese people, the Chinese think they are hard to get into and there's discrimination. That's where I am.

Blaming things we can't do to something we can't change such as racial discrimination does make us people feel more comfortable. And people tend to stay in their comfort zone, until their butt is kicked.

Speaking of kicking butt, the Chinese society is blunt and judgmental. When you do something wrong, people tell you you did it wrong, It makes you uncomfortable and alert. And you try to do better the next time. But the American society is more tolerant, it tells people to accept what they are, to be comfortable with themselves, but when you are comfortable, you don't wanna push forward. In this sense, I do agree with "the Battle Hyme of the Tiger Mother"'s parenting somewhat.

I am someone that needs to be punched every now and then. It kicks my butt, it wakes me up and it makes me work hard.

My butt was kicked earlier this year by Penny De los Santos when i watched her online food photography workshop. She is so inspiring that I felt the urge to rush out to shoot photographs immediately, but as time goes by, the pain on the butt disappeared and I felt comfortable again. So I quoted her here to keep me reminded.

"Free yourself to go beyond what is obvious for you. Being uncomfortable is when you grow the most. You grow the most when you put yourself in a very uncomfortable place and you solve the problem. It doesn't always work out, but when it does, you step up a little. You move beyond."
— Penny De Los Santos

Monday, August 15, 2011

one box of cherry tomatos, six presentations

I'd like to make the most of everything available. After buying a box of colorful cherry tomatoes from Union Square's green market. I styled them differently, using both natural and flash light. I was kind of scared of artificial lighting, but after attending a photography workshop, I was amazed at the dramatic effects it creates.