"Just keep taking pictures." This is the best advice I have ever received about becoming a good photographer. I have never taken a formal photography class, but I learned from observing my father, Ting Lim, as I tagged along with him to his work on the plantations, on safari (when we lived in Kenya), to family gatherings and assisted him to develop the photos in his darkroom.
During my college years, I took a ton of photos traveling with the Bayanihan Dance Company as a performing artist. In our travels, we came across the best views and I had a whole company of willing models to practice on. Then came the advertising years where my job in Lintas, as the account person and eventually the strategic planner, put me behind the scenes of a shoot rather than behind a camera.
After 20 odd years in the industry, I retired from agency work. I was looking for my next big adventure when I was stricken with trigeminal neuralgia, an extremely painful condition of the nerves. In the years I struggled to come to terms with the chronic pain, I picked up photography once again. At first, it was a way of keeping myself from getting bored on my daily walks. Then I decided to do a 365-day project that challenged me to post my best photo of the day. Each day, I would challenge myself to take a better photo than the day before. My classroom ranged from the landscaped sidewalks of the neighborhood, to empty lots and the occasional botanical garden. I would wake up early each morning to capture the best light and to capture the morning dew that sparkles on the grass.
Over time, I became fascinated with macro photography and the details of nature it reveals. I became absorbed in trying to capture the tiniest detail of a flower or the world refracted in a dewdrop, and somehow my nerve pain would not bother me. I delighted in discovering the tiny details my macro lens magnified, and I found that the photos also helped me articulate my thoughts and feelings about chronic pain and finding my own way of healing.