This Saturday will mark a somewhat important step for me as a photographer in Japan. I will be giving my first slide presentation on this side of the Pacific Ocean. Back home in Canada I was a regular at camera clubs, libraries, and even the Danish Lutheran Church in my home town of Surrey. When I was back in 2005 I made a number of presentations for more camera clubs and even two outdoor clubs. I was also very pleased to be invited to do two presentations at the annual Abbotsford Photo Seminar. But of the over 5 dozen presentations I have ever made, none were ever in any other language than my own native English. This coming Saturday will be the first time that I will ever have to speak in Japanese while showing my slides.
I was originally warned that I might be asked to do this back in September, and in October the official email message came. I am a member of the Society for Scientific Photography (日本自然科学写真協会 in Japanese) and my article about alpine glaciers was recently published in the members’ magazine, published each spring and autumn. The society has many people shooting birds, insects, wildlife, landscapes, microscopic worlds, and undersea photographs, but no one other than me considers himself and photographer of geology. Thus I was an easy target once they thought that I might be able to pull it off in Japanese.
I have spent many evenings over the last several weeks thinking about what to say and what photographs to show for the twenty minutes allotted to me. I decided to start with how I learned to photograph rocks and other things related to geology in an artistic manner and some of my approaches to photographing these things. Then, since I will be showing images from various locations around the world while explaining about the photography, I decided to spend sometime showing images from those locations and explaining where they are and what we are looking at in each image. That way I can hopefully avoid having to answer questions about where a certain image shown a few minutes back was taken.
The Japanese notes are my biggest concern. Though I am satisfied with what I have written, I need to have everything checked over for grammatical and vocabulary accuracy. I have already been rehearsing but especially important will be during the presentation that I can read what I wrote smoothly and fluidly without stuttering or misreading. I worry that I will be nervous trying to present my work and saying everything clearly and correctly, and that I might screw up many times. It will be important for me to just relax, pay attention to what I am reading and read it all properly and with the right expression. I have added a bit of humour in few places and I don’t want to just charge into the next remark without taking the time to speak effectively and with the right timing.
The presentation does not pay anything and I have to take time off work to go, so actually it’s costing me money. However, it will be a good chance for me to show a variety of images from my files and practice communicating with others in my new second language. I am very much looking forward to the event and if I am lucky I might even get an invitation or two to show my work somewhere else.