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Bringing people together with imagery

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My grandfather was really into photography and his hobby rubbed off on me from a young age – which is why he gave me a Hasselblad Camera. This is a really vintage type of film camera from the seventies, so when you take photos with it it has a really cool, retro effect on them. I love film photography because it’s such an old-school way of taking photos and I enjoy the process that comes with it. 

When you have a digital camera, you can just take a picture and delete it but with film, and with a Hasselblad in particular, you can only take about 12 pictures. There are no retakes, so every shot counts. And that’s something you don’t get with digital photography. Developing is a three or four-day process too, and I think it teaches you patience, which I don’t have a lot of. But I like the challenge. 

Photography has brought my Grandad and I very close, especially as he’s gotten older, I love that we have something in common to share. Even as his memory starts to fade, we just sit and talk about cameras and photography, and he remembers everything. It's crazy, but I’m so glad we can share that. 

It’s definitely had an influence on what I do for a living. As a senior programme manager with Grab Geo, I handle street-level imagery projects. We capture the streets with our cameras and then use that in our maps and navigation for our driver-partners. We head out into the field and capture everything on a regular basis  – which is something we have to do because the world changes so much every day. For example, new shops might open or signs might change every so often, so we need to capture that to have the most accurate information on the app. 

I like working with maps because it’s something that we use every day and we can’t really live without them. Before online maps, you might have had to rely on others if you were lost, but now it’s so easy to find where you want to go. So it’s really something that helps everyone and it has a really big impact on the business. All of our driver-partners and delivery-partners use it, and it is a huge part of daily life now. 

I’ve been at Grab since 2018 and even now, I feel like we’re only at the beginning of our journey here. Just like how the camera has advanced from film to street-car imagery, we’re going to keep advancing and it's what makes me want to stay at Grab. We’re continuously trying to do better and improve life for people – and a photo can do that whether it’s on a map or from a Hasselblad camera.