Some Thoughts on Photography

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, Capturing the Moment, 1906

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, Capturing the Moment, 1906

I've been having a lot of fun taking pictures with my Fujifilm x100s, its become an extension of myself.

I'm now hyperaware and conscious of my surroundings. I notice everything around me with greater detail and depth. This makes my environment more interesting, conjuring childlike wonder that makes me look at people, objects, architecture, and moments that make me go “I should capture this”.

What triggers that inner feeling that drives me to capture something is when there’s a story to tell.

A good picture is worth many words. The stories tell themselves in the lives of those who look at them. Like art, you project your own feelings and thoughts onto what you see.

My hope is that they remind people of their memories, good and bad, their future goals and aspirations, their sadness and joy, their wonder for existence, and of the beauty in the ordinary and mundane of our daily lives.

This makes taking pictures akin to writing, in the sense that you have to take the time to compose to tell a good story. Often times you get it wrong, so you revise. You look from a different angle, you find a better framing, you stand at a new spot to capture your subject. Sometimes the timing is right, and you make the impulsive and unplanned shots that manages to bring down the bird of thought as it flashes by. You capture all of them ruthlessly, leaving nothing behind.

I'm a goal oriented person, so photography feels like a game where the goal is to squeeze every possible shot I can out of a place. The downside of this is I'm completely occupied with photography like it's my vocation and barely have time to actually see and observe things for myself. For example, I was at an alleyway taking pictures, and the entire time and I never stopped to browse anything that was sold. So I have to find the right balance of shooting and "being"?

On a final note, with a camera, I feel gifted with the authority to capture things. It’s like I’ve been sanctioned to be walking around, taking pictures of people and things. You can’t do that with a phone camera, it feels unwarranted.

Pictures with a smartphone are cheap, it’s quick and trivial, it’s automatic, and it feels unlimited.

Pictures with a camera are meaningful, they’re slower and requires thought and skill, and it’s feels limited (sometimes they are).

I captured a lot of moments in my trip to Penang, they're organized by location – a restaurant or a street. I posted 100 photos from a 2 day trip on my instagram page.

I'm excited for my upcoming trips. Let's see what stories I can tell in Hong Kong and Shenzhen.