Looking back at the past 12 months, I can only say one thing: what a year it has been.

The rules in life are simple. First, make each year the best year of my life to date. And then secondly, make every year better than the previous year. So because of that, 2016 was a hundred times better than 2015 which, at that time, was already a very good year for me too.

But this has not made me forgotten that to be able to explore and understand the world is a privilege many do not have. That is why I try to balance it out by using the opportunities I had to give back to the people around me. Instead of traveling for leisure, I carried on searching for stories to tell from every possible corner of this globe. Stories that helped to raise awareness, fund a campaign or even support a wider and bigger cause than just about me.
I count myself lucky to be able to accomplish this.

Hence, after 13 destinations and a total of 8 months being abroad, I have compiled all of my photography work into a 7 minute show reel. Yes, my work is my life. So I hope that you will enjoy this simple compilation that I have put together.

And lastly, to all of you who have been with me on my journey in one form or another, thank you all so much for the memories. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Trying Not To Forget

I haven't posted anything in here for almost a week because I have been, somewhat, struggling to come to terms with my own distant reality. The truth is that when I first started sharing these stories on my social media platforms, I shared it because I want to start a conversation among my circle of friends. I wanted to raise awareness through stories that humanise people who seems to be so far away from us. To put a face to their stories. But over time, that reason slowly changed. Recently, I started posting stories more because I do not want to forget them instead. It is more for me than it is meant for you. So this becomes like a diary that I can look back many years down. There were moments when I panic if I had forgotten someone's name or a particular flow of a story. I would desperately scramble through my memories for that loose and missing piece. So I tried my best to keep up with this. But I am afraid to stop thinking about them. I don't know what would happen if it comes to that.

I feel like that could be the worst thing that can happen to anyone searching for hope - to be forgotten.

Idomeni, Greece | 2016

To Aylan Kurdi, We Are Sorry

Ritsona, Athens, 2016.

Today marks a year since the death of Aylan Kurdi. As much we want to say that things have now gotten better for everyone, we simply can't. And I am sorry. We should all be. We tried not to let your death go to waste and turn it into lesson for all of us to learn from, no matter how painful it was. But the war that ousted you from your home continues on like an unquenchable wildfire. While on the European shores, many more lands in your footstep with hopes to find a safe haven when the borders are already closed. "What safe haven?"

When images of you, lying lifelessly with a still heart, started to circulate around, an army of free spirited and kind hearted souls descended upon the very same beach that your body was found on. They tried everything and gave their best. They left a dent on ever life that they touched, surely. But now this army is thinning from within. Overwhelmed. Opinions have been shifted, emotions running high and fear has been fanned even further. Exhaustion and fatigue is almost triumphing.

Things have not moved forward. Maybe we have regressed backwards instead.

I am sorry that we haven't found any answers yet.

Short Feature on The New York Times - Lens - Photography

A couple of weeks ago, I had submitted a photo of mine to a call-out submission from The New York Times - Lens - Photography Live video on Facebook where two of their staff photographers will go through the process of how they make some of their own iconic images. Subsequently, they will also go through the compositional aspects of the selected photographs submitted from the viewers and I am (still) very happy that mine was featured in the video above.

All the submissions were very strong and to hear the words that were said alongside with my photograph was the highest compliment that I have received so far. Please do check out the entire video to go through all the other amazing work and if you want to skip to my photograph right away, you can just jump over to 22:40 where they will talk about my photograph.


HOME: Where Nothing Stays The Same

This photo essay titled, "Home: Where Nothing Stays The Same" explores the sense of patriotism that underpins my relationship with our ever changing surrounding that we are made to call home. For me, home is a sentiment, or a feeling, that is always rooted down in the nostalgic familiarity. But when the constants are drowned out by the uninterrupted changes, it is hard to ascertain what is my relationship with this place again.

The speed of development is electric. The old is torn down and the new is rebuild. It feels like this country got to its 51st birthday in a hurried fashion; racing against the world, they say; leaving behind the memories in a daze while some others remains in a crisp sharp focus. It is hard to tell what's real and what's not when the world beneath our feet is altering so fast.