It is time to take the leap.
I joined Olympus Malaysia in 2013 because I knew that I can contribute positively to the company and the fact that I already know their products inside out, having been using them for many years helped me in my tasks of liaising with photographers, local dealers, members of the media as well as general consumers from all over Malaysia. Adding my genuine staunch belief in the brand and true desire to want to see more people use Micro Four Thirds system, I was confident that I can be a powerful weapon and make a real difference for Olympus. I could not have joined the company at a better time, as it was during the launch of the OM-D E-M1 (first version), which was the beginning of a revolution that propelled mirrorless cameras into the center playing stage, that they can compete head on with DSLR for most shooting scenarios.
While I did enjoy the work I was doing for Olympus, especially the interaction with many interesting people and being able to share my love of photography with them, I have to admit most of the tasks that I was handling as an employee had nothing to do with photography at all. There were countless consumer events (Touch and Try for new products), business meetings with dealers, training sessions with storefront staff, workshops and training for consumers. Almost ALL my weekends were consumed at a time, especially when there were new product launches. In addition to my 8-5 work on weekdays, I did not actually have any weekends.
It is true what they say, if you love what you do, you will not have to work a single day of your life. Here is the deal, I love photography. the whole world knows that, I love being out there with a camera in hand and shoot. Unfortunately for me, time for shooting was almost non-existent for me, and I have my not so frequent blog updates here to prove that. I used to be able to blog at least 2-3 times a week before I joined Olympus. Now, I would be happy if I could manage one blog entry per week! This was in contradiction to my original intention of leaving my engineering career, to be more involved and grow my photography. Honestly, I did not see much personal growth over the past few years. I did not participate in any exhibitions, did not get much photographs published outside of my blog, and no further involvement in the local photography community. Only recently, I joined a group of photographers in Kuching to do a collective photo exhibition, and after that, I knew I needed to be more active and take my photography more seriously. I need to step up to the next level.
Another reason, which is more obvious and predictable, would be the blatant conflict of interest whenever I was reviewing an Olympus product. No matter what I did and tried my best to be impartial, honest and fair, a direct employment under Olympus undermined my credibility as a blogger, photographer and product reviewer. I acknowledge, and deeply appreciate the immense support from all of you to keep inspiring me to continue writing and doing what I love doing, but the truth is, I cannot have it both ways. If I started writing negative things about a product, it would hurt the company, which in turn would hurt my own conscience as well. If I have chosen to keep quiet and lie in my reviews (I have tried my best not to), I will lose respect and validity as a blogger, then what was the point of blogging in the first place? The only obvious choice, was to leave.
What is next for me?
What I can assure you, is that I will continue shooting, doing my shutter therapy sessions, sharing fresh photographs and blogging on. However, there will be a HUGE significant change, happening very, very soon. I am extremely excited about this new project, which I am working closely with a friend, and everything will be revealed. You have all stayed with me all this time, and I am sure you will like this new direction I am taking in my blogging and photography ventures. I seriously can't wait!
Olympus will always have a special place in my heart. I am still currently using Olympus as my main gear for shooting. Leaving Olympus was not an easy decision but surely the right one for me, to further grow myself in photography without restrictions of being tied to a camera brand, and focus more on my own shooting.
I want to thank you all for being here with me all this time, all your kind words of encouragement and show of support have brought me so far and I am not where I am today without your help.
What do I want to do right now, go out and have a great shutter therapy session of course!