“My Club Med Photo Challenge Experience” is a series of posts written by the finalists selected in our recent Club Med campaign. The finalists were flown to Bali, Indonesia (all-expense paid) from May 27-June 1 to participate in daily challenges to determine the best photographer to receive a US$10,000 photography assignment from Club Med. -- Being selected from over 100 photographers to go actually to Bali was a satisfaction rather then a surprise, realizing that Travel & Destination is my specialty and some of the other guy's hobby... I knew my chances are above average to be there. The Club Med competition was from the start obviously of interest to me. I knew also that this challenge had not that much in common with a real assignment as the design and the restraints of it, are things you never are presented with on a real assignment. A fact that the whole challenge made a fun experience rather than a contest. When I found out, I flew back to Singapore from another assignment, unpacked and packed my bags and off I went. I met Suhaimi already on the airport and it was great to hook up with another camera crazy guy. Its one reason this challenge was a lasting experience. You very rarely get the chance to work together with other photographers on something. Its always a task you solve alone or with your team. To meet 9 likeminded “warriors of Light” from all over Asia and sharing over meals and drinks silly thoughts, knowledge and experiences from the day and their past work was the biggest prize you could win. I think all of us had a great time.

Although it's a “shoot-out” or competition, I never quite saw Bali this way. I knew that all 9 at the end have similar chances, because the tasks and time constraints are not reflecting what you would normally do. You get thrown out of your comfort zone or working style and you have to try something different and improvise for the most part. It was also great to see what other guys came up with, being presented with their individual challenges. The greatest thing for me was that despite the “contest” all the guys were so cool about the whole challenge and were really in to celebrate the moment, rather then to “outdo” your fellow photographer. I honestly liked all of the guys and felt this was like everyone felt as well. It may sound cheesy, but the unexpected chemistry between us is what made everything worthwhile and I’m sure some of us will stay in touch long after this. I already have plans to meet Gary in Surabya.. (he just does not know it yet ;-)), but would love to go South Korea and visit Min, to Australia to visit John, to Malaysia, to Japan... Darn Eyeka!!! Club Med as such was new for me and despite the size the Club Med Bali is a really nice place to make your holidays. The booking numbers speak for themselves. The difference to other resorts and hotels that striked me most, was the fact that everyone seemed constantly active doing something. People coming here seemed energized and fit and they get lots of facilities offered to stay active. Much left to say.. But doing is better then talking... - Felix Hug, Singapore