“90 3 27” — this sequence is on the very first pictures I ever took in my life. My father gave me a used Fujica Auto 5. That was 27 years ago, to this day. He encouraged me to document our upcoming family vacation. I was eight years old, and the first photograph shows our plane waiting at the airport.
On the next day, March 28th, 1990, we visited the zoo in Hong Kong. I was really excited — not only because of the animals, but also because it was the first time I had my own camera with me at the zoo. I took pictures of things that caught my eye and fascinated me: an airplane, a train, birds, a crocodile show, and so on.
A couple of days later, my father came home from work with a plastic bag in his hand. It had the logo of the photo store on it. I could tell from the look on his face what was in the bag. I couldn’t stop thinking about all the photographs I took, and I couldn’t forget how much fun I had taking pictures of the world. The smile on my father’s face and the plastic bag — these are nice memories. I ran up to him, grabbed the plastic bag out of his hands, tore it open, and looked at the pictures. I started screaming like I never did before.
“SHIT. SHIT. Are these REALLY the pictures I took? SHIT, SHIT. I can’t see ANYTHING. They don’t tell me ANYTHING about the zoo and what happened there. I had other pictures in my mind. Why are the birds so tiny? Why didn’t I see these bars? SHIT. Photography is USELESS.”
This picture reminds me of my first experience of being disappointed in not only myself, but also in photography and its results. Looking back, I understand that this was just the first disappointment of many to come.