BY NELSON NG
我第一次在線上遇見 Harvard 的時候，我們倆都有點迷惑。
當時是2009年：我剛從紐約來到上海進入廣告公司，Harvard 在澳洲剛被廣告公司解聘了。因為我當時進入了一家不錯的廣告公司，也有把這件事分享在自己的博客上，才被 Harvard 關註到。我被 Harvard 關註我的博客這件事產生了好奇，才開始也去關註他的博客。那是我第一次讀到他的文字，也是我“閱讀” Harvard 的人生的開始。
後來我們在 Facebook 上彼此關註了，也好像開始聊了起來。可能是因為我在他身上看到相同的處境，所以也很高興跟他保持聯系。當時我不完全對自己的工作很滿意，但也不知道該如何。他也一樣，被工作解聘了一次後，也開始對工作覺得厭倦、覺得無意義。我們偶爾會聊到離職這件事，還有到底是做什麽事才是能真正讓自己過得幸福、快樂。
也就這樣，Harvard 開始拿起相機幫身邊的朋友拍婚禮。一個婚禮接一個，Harvard 也拍得越來越入手。當時他可能也沒想那麽多，只是覺得好玩，也順便可以賺一些生活費。他同時也回到了廣告行業，一邊做廣告，一邊接拍婚禮的工作。但是在2011年，當 Harvard 在電視上看見了日本東北部地震災難引起的巨大海嘯，追趕著一輛小車的時候，他決定告別廣告界，開始追求一個沒有遺憾的人生，成為一名攝影師。
在 Harvard 離開廣告界成為全職攝影師這段時間裏，我在廣告界卻一直漂泊無定。2年內換了3家公司，最後又回到了第一家，待了5年。我和廣告的關系是又愛又恨，因為我大學讀的是純藝術，所以一直把自己當成一名藝術家，接受不了商業創意。但同時廣告的工作也把我帶到上海，讓我認識到很多人，教會了我很多做事和做人的道理，也讓我能夠生存。所以這 7 年在廣告的工作裏，我內心一直都在掙紮：這到底是我想做的事嗎？7 年的時間非常長，心裏那把對藝術的火漸漸地熄滅，慢慢也會說服自己該長大了別再做白日夢。
看到 Harvard 在世界的另一邊 （墨爾本）慢慢地改變和成長，我也受到了打擊。2012年我坐了遊輪去日本, 帶著這些問題去思考。後來從日本回來也沒得到什麽答案，唯一想到要做的是一本旅行雜誌。我不知道怎麽靠藝術生存，但我想先做一件能讓自己興奮和開心的事情，就想到做一本雜誌，雖然之前都完全沒有做過，也不知道該怎麽做。但多虧有了這個天真的念頭，讓我心中的火又燃燒起來了。
兩年後 《LOST》 的第一期出版了，我突然間發現了能讓自己開心的事，雖然當時還不知道怎麽靠出版生存。雜誌印刷前和印刷後對我的影響挺大的，而那天當我拿到樣本在我手上，我感覺到好像有什麽事情改變了。Harvard 也在同一年結婚了，然後因為娶（嫁給）了一位很漂亮的日本姑娘，開始時常去日本拜訪親戚。他提到說可以把去日本的經歷寫成一篇旅行故事，投到下一期的 《LOST》。也就這樣，Harvard 成為了《LOST》第二期的投稿者。
2015年，《LOST》第二期出版了。當時我還在廣告公司，Harvard 找到了自己喜歡的攝影，我也找到了我自己喜歡的出版，而且從《LOST》第二期的順利合作，我們就開始談到結合我們倆都喜歡的東西來創作出一本攝影書。最後我們決定把 Harvard 成為攝影師這個故事變成一本書，開始讓 Harvard 整理照片和動筆去把故事寫出來。他決定分享他拍過的前10個婚禮，以及在成為攝影師的路上所學到的東西都記錄下來。那一年當他在準備素材的時候，我跟他聊得特別多，因為我開始想全心做自己喜歡的事、全心投入出版，但還是不知道怎麽生存。當時我沒有信心離職，但 Harvard 推薦了我看一部叫《Lemonade》的紀錄片，關於離職後的生活，也給了我對這件事情的新想法。但最大的啟發還是 Harvard 本人的故事，因為4年前他離開了工作，4年後也還生存的好好的。
2015年年尾，我終於離職了，全心投入出版。這次到我離開廣告界，但其實還是不知道怎麽靠出版生存。也因為這個原因，之後的3年都是在尋找生存的方法，也一直沒時間把 Harvard 的書完成。在這3年裏，Harvard 又成長了更多。之前可能只拍婚禮，但現在也開始為很多餐廳拍美食還有為不同企業拍肖像。最重要的一點是，在這麽多年後，他仍然還是很喜歡拍照，而且在2016年他有了女兒後，攝影對他來說有了更深的意義。在 Harvard 的分享裏，他曾經說過，當我們活了一生後其實不會留下什麽，唯一能留下來的就是回憶，而攝影就是能保留這些回憶的東西。這句話也讓我感受到攝影的真正價值，還有他拍婚禮背後的真正意義。
3年後，我這邊圍繞出版的生存方式似乎比較穩定了，決定把3年前和 Harvard 的承諾實現出來。這本書對我的意義還挺大的，因為我是親眼（通過網絡）見證了書裏的故事發生，也因為這些故事讓我有信心這麽任性出來做自己喜歡的工作。別被這本書的封面和婚禮照片給誤導了，其實這本書完全跟婚禮沒有關系，而是記載了 Harvard 怎麽變成一名攝影師的故事；更多是他怎麽找到能讓他幸福的工作。我們最後把書名寫成「Isn’t It Great to be Here?」，意思是 “在這兒有多好？”，反應了一種在工作中的幸福感。
在做這本書的時候，我是一邊做一邊流淚，因為 Harvard 的文字非常感人，希望每一位讀者讀完後能像我一樣被 Harvard 的故事受到啟發尋找自己的方向。
(9年后 Harvard 来到了上海，我们终于第一次碰面了～！）
「Isn’t It Great to be Here？」是 Harvard Wang 告別廣告界，成為攝影師的故事。透過一系列的短文，每個章節包含了他在相機後捕捉幸福時所領悟到的種種學問，以及如何讓自己更快樂的種種啟示。本書紀錄了 Harvard 超過200頁的獨特攝影。讀者可以從他的婚紗，美食，日常生活的攝影中體會他成為全職攝影師的旅程。 在这本316頁的精裝書里，也包含了他中英文的自白。這不但是一本關於攝影的書，也是一則人生故事。
Harvard 生於馬來西亞吧生, 澳洲墨爾本大學建築系深造, 中途輟學, 轉念墨爾本皇家理工大學廣告設計, 2007 年就業廣告社美術總監。 2010年人生第一次被裁員, 也拍攝了人生第一次婚禮攝影。 2011年的日本東北地震災難，讓他毅然離開廣告界，全心追求攝影。
尺寸／21cm x 15cm
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Doing What You Love
When Harvard and I first met online, we were both quite lost in life.
The year was 2009: I had just arrived in Shanghai from New York for a new job in advertising, and Harvard had just been ‘made redundant’ at an advertising agency in Australia. Because I was working at a relatively well-known agency, and had shared this information online, Harvard began to follow my blog. I was intrigued by the fact that someone from so far away was reading my blog, and so out of curiosity I decided to check out his blog. That was the first time I had ever read Harvard’s writing, and how I began following his life story.
Later on we connected on Facebook, and began to chat. Perhaps it was because I found similarities in both our situations, and so I was happy to keep in touch. During that time I wasn’t entirely happy with my job, but didn’t know what else to do. As for Harvard, after being let go once, he was sort of in the same predicament, where he was getting tired of his job and found it meaningless. We would occasionally talk about quitting, and discuss about doing things that might make us happy.
And just like that, Harvard took up his camera and began taking wedding photos for his friends. With every shoot, Harvard got better and better. At that time he probably didn’t think too much of it. It was probably just simple fun and a little extra cash on the side. While he was photographing weddings, he also went back to freelance in advertising at the same time. But during the Tohoku earthquake in 2011, when Harvard saw a car trying to escape from a tsunami on television, he decided he didn’t want to have any regrets in life, and so decided to quit his job in advertising to pursue what he really loved: photography.
“Would I be happy that the last thing I did in life, was making a web banner for an energy company?”
Meanwhile, back in Shanghai, I was still floating around in the advertising world. As Harvard left the advertising world to become a full-time photographer, here I was switching between 3 companies in 2 years, going back to the first one eventually to stay on for another 5 years. I had a love-hate relationship with advertising; because I had studied Fine Art in college, I had always seen myself as an artist and couldn’t accept commercial art. But at the same time, advertising had brought me to Shanghai, introduced me to many new friends, taught me how things worked in the real world, and most of all, allowed me to survive. And so in my 7 years of working in advertising, I was struggling deep inside: Is this really what I want to be doing for the rest of my life? 7 years is a really long time, my passion for art was slowly diminishing, and I was slowly convincing myself it was time to grow up and stop daydreaming.
Watching Harvard slowly transform on the other side of the world impacted me greatly. At the end of 2012, when everyone was predicting the end of the world, I took a ferry to Japan, bringing these questions of my job and work along on the trip, hoping to find some answers. When I came back from the trip, I didn’t have any answers, but there was something new I wanted to try. I didn’t know how to survive making art, but I thought perhaps I should at least do something exciting first, and decided to make a travel magazine, even though I had no experience making one. Thankfully, as naive as I felt back then, this silly little idea helped reignite my passion for making things.
Two years later, the first issue of LOST was published, and I suddenly discovered something that made me extremely happy and satisfied. There was a significant difference before and after the magazine was printed, and I knew something had changed the moment I held the dummy copy in my hand. In that same year, Harvard got married to a beautiful Japanese girl, and began visiting his in-laws in Japan. He mentioned about submitting a story about his visits to Japan for the next issue of LOST, and that was how Harvard became a contributor for the second issue.
In 2015, the second issue of LOST was published. At that time I was still in advertising; Harvard had found his passion in photography, and I had found mine in publishing, and after the smooth collaboration of LOST Issue Two, we discussed about making something that combined both our passions: a photography book. In the end we decided to turn Harvard’s journey of becoming a photographer into a book, and he began writing and selecting photos for the publication. He decided to share photos from the first 10 weddings he had shot, and to write about the lessons he had learned from them. During that year, while he was preparing the content, we chatted a lot more, as I began wondering if I should, like Harvard, quit my full-time job to pursue what I love, even though I didn’t know how. I had no confidence to go out on my own, so Harvard recommended me to watch “Lemonade”, a documentary about life after people quit their full-time jobs. It helped somewhat, but still, the most inspiring example was Harvard himself, since he had quit 4 years ago and was still getting long fine after 4 years.
At the end of 2015, I finally left my job to pursue publishing. It was my turn to leave the advertising world, even though I still hadn’t figured out how to survive on publishing. And because of this, the next 3 years became mostly about figuring out a way to survive, which didn’t allow any time for me to complete Harvard’s book. Meanwhile, in those 3 years, Harvard grew even more as a photographer. Before, he was photographing mostly weddings, but now he was also doing food photography for restaurants, and portraiture for various companies. But the most important thing was, after so many years, Harvard was still passionate about photography, and when he was blessed with a daughter in 2016, photography took on an even deeper meaning for him. In his talks, Harvard once said that at the end of our lives, we leave behind nothing except for all the memories, and photography is what helps preserve these memories. This statement made me realize the true value of photography, and the real meaning behind his wedding photography.
3 years later, now that my publishing business has slowly began to stabilise, I decided to fulfil the promise that I had made with Harvard from back then. This book means quite a lot to me, not only because I had personally witnessed these events happen in real-time (online), but also because these stories gave me the confidence to take the risk to do what I love. Don’t be fooled by the cover or the wedding photos inside, this book isn’t really about weddings, but about how Harvard became a photographer, or how he found his calling in life. We named the book “Isn’t It Great to be Here?” to reflect this attitude of finding joy and contentment in one’s work, where one is happy just by being.
Because Harvard is such a great writer, I couldn’t help tearing while I was working on the book. I hope everyone gets inspired to find their own path and voice in life after reading Harvard’s story, just like I did.