Written by Administrator
Tuesday, 21 December 2010 06:12
AsiaViews, Edition: 31/VII/November2010
Category: BOOK REVIEW
Somchai Klongsomboon has captured his dreams in photography
To Somchai Klongsomboon, pressing a button teaches him a precious lesson that he can cherish every moment in life.
"What I have learned from photography is that time flies so fast. Once I press the shutter, a story, picture, or environment in front of me will change into the past immediately," he said.
"This reminds me that if I want to do something I must do it right away because time waits for no man and when time passes we can't go back to correct the things we just did."
Somchai is true to his ideology. All of his working hours are spent to the fullest and he says he is lucky to do what he loves.
But Somchai is not a person who waits for opportunity to knock - he chooses to create opportunity.
As a student at Suankularb School, he saw pupils carrying cameras to take pictures at school events and wanted to follow suit.
"I thought they looked so smart carrying a camera, capturing this and that moment. At the time, I was on the student committee and wanted to be the school photographer too," Somchai said.
"Unfortunately, my parents couldn't afford a camera so I decided to learn photography theory instead."
A SELF-TAUGHT PHOTOGRAPHER
At 14, Somchai spent days on end reading about photography, gaining a wealth of knowledge.
"I had no money to buy books so I read them in the school library every day," he said.
" I kept telling myself that one day when I had a camera of my own I would be able to use it well."
However, eventually theory was not enough for Somchai - he wanted to take pictures. It was then he asked his parents to buy him a camera, but they still could not afford one.
But one day his parents were visiting relatives in Singapore and saw a camera they could afford, so decided to surprise their son.
"They bought me a Cannon A1. I was so glad. I spent all my money to buy film and started snapping away," Somchai said.
"At the time, there were many photography courses but the cost was rather exorbitant. So I learned everything by trial and error."
WHEN A DREAM COMES TRUE
Finally, Somchai's dream slowly materialised and his photographic skills became known around school. When anybody wanted to hire a photographer for a special occasion they would approach Somchai and his work was always impressive.
After he graduated from Suankularb School, Somchai entered Thammasat University's Faculty of Economics and honed his photographic skills.
"Once, I entered a photography contest and won a prize. After that I knew taking pictures would be my life-long passion," he recalled.
After finishing his Masters of Arts from the National Institute of Development Administration, Somchai worked as a salesman and saved as much money as he could.
"I always missed the good old days of capturing marvellous scenes. Then the idea of running a camera shop came to me," he said.
In 1990, the first Photo Hut opened in Banglumpoo Department Store and then the second and the third branches followed. To date, Photo Hut has 200 branches around the country.
Apart from running the camera shops, Somchai is also the MC of the Photo Story Programme broadcast on Mondays. He also owns the Photo Hut Academy which teaches the art of photography and has just launched a pocket book entitled Photo Story.
"Most people can afford an expensive camera but they don't know how to fully use it," said Somchai.
"In fact, there are many camera books available but it seems that those who buy them are only professional photographers.
"As for those who use a compact camera, they won't read these books. That is why I wanted to write a pocket book for those who use a compact camera.
"I added some simple tips for amateur photographers so they can take photos like professionals."
Two decades after launching Photo Hut, Somchai sees the same mistakes time and again.
"I have sold more than 100,000 cameras but what I have seen is that more than 90% of camera users rely heavily on the auto mode," he said.
"In short, they pay about 10,000 baht for a camera but they use only 2,000 baht of it. They have never tried other functions of the camera."
The message he wants to drive home is that all camera owners should study their camera thoroughly before using it. Even a compact camera has many gimmicks and can do a lot of things.
"When I travel to other countries I use a compact camera. I want my audiences to see how functional and versatile a compact camera is. It can produce high quality pictures like a professional camera," he said.
STORIES BEHIND THE PICTURES
Asked what picture impresses him most, Somchai said he loves all of his pictures since each has its own story and intrinsic charm.
"All pictures are equally important. They capture the moment," he said.
"And each picture is precious to me as I know I have preserved the past. One picture can deliver many messages. Pictures can reflect both positive and negative sides of society at a certain period of time.
"If you want to keep your memories alive, you should take at least one photo a day. Try to observe the same thing daily and you will see its continual change which can marvel you endlessly.
"These changes will remind you whether you spend each day happily or not. If not, you should start doing it now since you will have no second chance to do the same thing."
A camera has been an integral part of Somchai's life for three decades now and he won't trade it for anything else.
"I can't be devoid of a camera as it helps spice my life with colour and joy," he said.
By: Chompoo Trakullertsathien
Bangkok Post 28 October 2010
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 December 2010 06:12 )