I've always been a big fan of street photography, from those candid shots of unsuspecting people, to interesting framing of widely-known landmarks. But there is one specific type of shot that has always perplexed me: those shots that seem to drag into infinity, with almost no one in them. Long, deserted avenues, bridges, and tunnels. Pictures that, the more you look, the more you fall into.
Everybody has a passion in life that brings them copious amounts of joy. We all seek to have an aesthetic that we'd love to develop and mould in order to create something beautiful on a daily basis. For me, especially as of late, has been photography. Having a best friend who lives and breathes her photography inspired me to pursue and nurture my love for it.
"Isn't everybody just a bit more than we think they are?" I read something like that a long time ago. It stuck with me, and it has changed the way I've looked at every person I meet.
Have you ever thought, "What makes a 'great' candid shot?" Or, "What do I need to learn to take a great candid shot?"
I've always been a creative/arty kid since high school, but I just wasn't able to find a medium that really resonated with me in terms of how I wanted to express myself as a creator/artist. Throughout the years, my practice ranged from pencil, charcoal, and pastel drawings to acrylic, water-colour, and oil paintings, none of which seemed to work as well as I hoped. Sure they were beautiful in their own ways, however there was a personal connection with the media that was lacking.
We all look for ways that we connect with nature. For me, it was always on the back of a horse, even as a young child. I was raised in Gordon, Nebraska on a ranch where either one of my parents had me and my sister in the saddle with them herding cattle. Since then my sister and I would always go and visit our grandparents every summer connecting with horses and connecting with nature. Our love for connection and with nature grew as we were allowed to go horseback riding for hours in the Nebraska Sandhills. I remember this one year we rode all day until sunset. We sat on our horses and just connected with where we were at, watching a rainbow of colors dance across the western slopes of the Sandhills. That was the last time we rode together as kids.
Waiting for the blue hour to dawn, the sky was painted with streaks of lilac, filling the space for the moon to say goodnight to the sun. I asked her to lift her hands in the air, praising the God who decided to show off His work once again. It's at moments like these that I sit back and go,
I am a brain injury, repeat brain injury, survivor with PTSD and anxiety/bipolar issues. Luckily they have meds but they don't help as much as needed, but I've found that I'd forget my woes a bit, so to speak, when I was out doing photography, especially in nature. For a while it was a guilty pleasure until on a hunch I Googled if it helped with PTSD and it does. In fact, war veterans use landscape photography as therapy for their PTSD. I wasn't in the military but I've had the crap kicked out of me lots. I simply grew up in that kind of neighborhood/town but now I live in Utah which I'll say is a lot safer. I can walk around Historic 25th Street at night with my Samsung S10 and Sony A6000 with a couple of lenses, including my $1K 210mm lens and I'm fine. Yeah, there's a bit of crime in that area per news but the news is always negative. Ogden has a big of a reputation but honestly it's not that bad. The people are worth getting to know.
Eric Kim said it best, when he describes his street photography as making a photo as opposed to taking a picture. He expresses asking someone to make a photograph seems more pleasing to hear as opposed to taking one's picture. The mere sound of the word “taking” adds a sense thievery and puts people on guard and less likely to agree to pose for a few snaps of the camera. Eric’s philosophy has added a whole new perspective to my own means of photography. I no longer look at my photos as a “picture taken,” but more so now as a “photo made.” A made photo is only made once the decision has been made to keep, show off, display or sell. Discarded pictures are your taken ones, taken, and discarded, and forgotten. Made pictures are the storytellers, like the story of the pictures I made for this chapter.
Do you know that feeling when you are travelling in a foreign country and you have read some information in your Lonely Planet guide, and then you look up at a high building and you see an advertisement that you didn't expect? Well, this is what happened to me in Tallinn, Estonia, and the adv of Fotografiska.
Published 2 months ago
I got my first DLSR camera for Christmas about two years ago. I mainly wanted it to make films, as I wasn't too interested in photography. The only photos I took were with my drone. I was fascinated with aerial photography, seeing the world from another perspective. My drone dedicated Instagram was full of birds eye views of parks, cemeteries, and landscapes, but that was it.
This reflection is about my recently-wrapped photography series, Navigator, which is about the rising generation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. To check it out, look up @inkybattlefields on Instagram.