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It’s about time I added this page. Here I will tell you a bit about myself and my motivation for journalism and photography. I hesitated in making this page because I find most blogs to be really self-absorbed. However, going through my last year and a half of postings, I found that there is very little information about myself, especially since I’m the one behind the camera.

Introduction

I am 25 years old, from Thorold, Ontario, Canada. I have a BA in Psychology from Brock University, and a business diploma from Niagara College. Since August 2008, I have been living in Seoul, South Korea, as an English teacher. I teach to young children, ages 4 to 13. My job is not easy, and I take it very seriously. With that said, I also love my job, and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to be a ‘second father’ to my students, and help them develop their skills, not only in English, but also in shaping their worldviews.

My interest in teaching has been there since I can remember. My whole life, I really enjoyed speaking, especially when people listen to me. I wrote and delivered my grandmother’s eulogy when I was about 19. When I finished college and entered university, I began to volunteer as a tutor and mentor to international students in Brock’s ESL programs. (IELP, SELP) I made a lot of good friends during this time, and I was able to get a lot of experience under my belt. I worked at Brock University as a ‘language monitor’ during the summer of 2007, and I was in charge of a popular photography program. I taught the basics of photography, including composition and post-processing. For the students with a more keen interest, I offered them more detailed information about exposure, and more intensive post-processing techniques, including high dynamic range (HDR) photography.

Thoughts on photography


I should say right here that I don’t consider myself to be a professional, or an outstanding photographer. I simply try to show people the world as I see it.

As a child, I used to take my parents’ camera and use up all of the film. This upset them, of course. Fast-forward about 10 years. In high school, I was very keen on art, but severely lacked skills in painting and drawing. To this day, my drawing skills are laughable. It looks like a 4 year old’s work.

My high school art teacher noticed my lack of ability, and suggested photography. Here comes the cliché part. I have always thought that I see the world in a different way from others. Photography gives me the chance to show people what I see. My camera is very basic, a Nikon D50 which is about 5 years old, but I feel that it is an extension of my mind, and I am able to capture beauty and truth through its lens.

I personally don’t really like editing photos. I think that you should take a picture as it is, and leave it that way. Aside from my HDR shots, my photos are largely untouched, and came directly off my camera. My iPhoto library contains 20,000 photos.

It sounds strange, but I’ve always felt that inanimate objects have a soul. For example, when I got my MacBook, I felt like I hurt my old PowerBook’s feelings, like I was cheating on it. I use photography to try to express the souls of the things I shoot. This is also why I don’t really like to take pictures of people, because I don’t feel that a simple photograph can express the intricacies of their personality and spirit. This is also why I believe that the best photos of people are taken without their knowledge. Fake smiles do nothing to express the true spirit of a person. For this reason, I don’t consider myself worthy of taking photos of people, and my photography mainly consists of nature and still life.

Thoughs on writing

I have always had a way with words. I remember expanding my vocabulary in grade school, and feeling so accomplished that I was able to find exactly the right word for a particular situation. Moving forward, in high school, I was greatly encouraged by one of my teachers who used one of my essays as an example to other students. The essay was about racism. In college, my English teacher really took a liking to me, although he had a voice that would just put me to sleep in class. In university, I was very fortunate to study Eastern consciousness. This gave me a great chance to learn about world religions, and write about them.

I have always had a curiosity about the world. I wonder how people can live ignorantly, not knowing how things work. As a child, I used to take my dad’s electronics apart to see how they worked. To this day, I am still never comfortable with unanswered questions.

The mind is a very powerful organism. Our subjective perception of reality is only skin-deep, and I have spent a lot of time and energy trying to expand my mind. In a Hindu light, I believe that we are unable to fully observe the world because of the influence of culture. We are born with a pure mind, and while growing up, we slip into illusion and want. This is the root of suffering, and it is up to us to free our minds from the social conventions that we have been subjected to from birth. Now, that’s not to say that social conventions aren’t important. Without them, how could we learn? However, it is important to be able to see life through several different “lenses”. This gives us the opportunity to see the many sides of a situation. I won’t drone on about my personal views on philosophy. That’s just annoying.

Dreams

Since I can remember, my dad always told me that I am a dreamer. For a long time I was confused about what he meant by that. Does that mean that I have my head in the clouds? Am I confused? Adulthood has finally shed some light on what he meant. I think that he meant that I am an ‘outside the box’ thinker. This is completely true, and sometimes I find myself far too removed from the box. However, I think that this kind of mind is very important. It’s what keeps our minds youthful.

I have many dream jobs. I would like to teach English at my alma mater, Brock University. I would like to be an automotive journalist. I would like to work on the product design team at Apple. But the dream I hold the most high is to work for National Geographic as a photojournalist, traveling the world, covering everything from current events to historical landmarks, to… well… everything.

I’ll add more to this as I realize new things about myself. If you’ve read this far, I am pretty damn impressed.

8 Comments

  1. Nice bro! Great read.

  2. Hi~! Mike

    There are many interesting things to read. WoW 😀
    I couldn’t forget when we meet.
    Even though it was very short time.
    (about 10min, right?haha)
    Have good experiences in Korea.

  3. was amazing haha ur introduce is great
    i think anyway i saw ur blog
    ur great korea living !!
    good good !! thumb up to u

  4. as being korean myself,
    i need to thank you for providing to the futures of korea such beneficial education! 🙂

  5. well, thx for sharing the impressive “yourself”~
    like the journal, u r not a dreamer~but a realist~that’s what i learned from u ~plus, to be urself, following ur heart~~
    if u believe~~~~~

  6. I was undecided. Now I’m going. Life is what you make of it.

  7. I found your blog this morning and I’ve found it a very interesting read. I grew up in Thorold too (well, Thorold South if I want to be completely and embarassingly honest!). I visited Korea for a couple weeks last year and really enjoyed it though I found the food situation difficult as I’m a vegetarian. My sister lives in Seoul currently and has lived in the country (with a few breaks) for the last few years.

  8. Hey Mike, I found your blog just by chance looking up a mac post. I ran out of time going through it, but look forward to reading it at home. It is always sad to leave a place, one adventure ends, and a new one starts.

    I too blogged my experiences in Korea, though I guess I was glad to go, and I was only there for a short time. http://10-weeks-in-korea.blogspot.com/ if your interested. I look forward to reading the rest of your blog.


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