My name is Ian, as you may have guessed. The basics about me are not so basic. People often ask me where I’m from and I really don’t know where to begin. Should I start with the fact that I was born in the Cayman Islands? Or should I say I grew up in China? Or maybe just stick to the fact that I went to University in the States? My passport is American, but I’ve only lived in the States for a total of 8 years, and currently I don’t even live there at all. It’s really complicated and I often have to decide just how much the person I’m talking to wants to hear.
Right now I am a photo manager working for a company called Ocean Images. I manage photo teams on different ships with Holland America Line. We take photos of the passengers on the cruise line and then sell those photos to the passengers. It sounds like a terribly exotic job and many people think I live in paradise. Well I admit it would be easy to think that, but once you learn about the job, opinions quickly change. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of positive things about the job otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it, but life isn’t a vacation for me.
A photographer on board a cruise ship generally has an 8 month contract without a day off, ever. He works an average of 8 hours a day 7 days a week for that entire 8 months. Only then does he get a short 6 week vacation before he’s shipped off to another ship to work for another 8 months. It’s difficult to work so much, especially when you’re away from friends and family that entire time.
However, as I have already mentioned the job is not without its perks. I am able to save a considerable amount of money because I have basically no expenses while on board. All meals are paid for, my accommodations are paid for by my company, I have no taxes, I have no gas to put into a car, I have no electric bills, not even a cell phone bill. I even get free health care if I need to visit the dentist or something like that. I get to meet amazing people from all over the world. I get to visit amazing destinations all over the world. I get great photography, business and people skills experience.
While I’m not taking photos of passengers on cruise ships, I am busying myself taking street photography style photos in the ports that I visit. You can see a selection of these photos in my photo gallery. I genuinely enjoy taking photos and that’s what this website is all about. Actually, this website has two purposes. The first, is for me to write about cruise life and my travels around the world and also to display the photos. The second purpose is for me to share some of my experience in blog posts about photography business. I’ve had a decent amount of experience in several areas of photography business, both on and off the ships. Before I started working on ships I shot elementary school photos, and I also worked for myself shooting weddings and other events. Since being on the ship I’ve had the pleasure of being the photo manager which brings with it all kinds of joys such as managing the money, training new photographers, and doing a host of different types of photography and printing.
Photography has been my passion for quite a few years. It’s a way for me to tell stories that otherwise wouldn’t be told and I try to find beauty where others do not. I travel around the world taking photos and telling the stories of the people with which I come into contact. It’s very important for me to be sensitive to the cultures that I have the privilege of tasting and with this in mind I attempt to capture each culture with an unbiased eye. If it is unacceptable to take a photo in any specific circumstance, then I will not take the photo. I do not consider going to any length just to obtain photographic evidence of an event a good enough reason to insult a culture. There is no good reason to go beyond what is culturally acceptable and so I respect the cultures that I visit. That being said, I love to photograph the unusual and exotic and will go to great lengths to photograph what a culture is truly like.