Peking University, August 19: Photographs not only capture a certain moment or memory but also the perception of the photographer. While some photographers focus on the scenery, some may be more people-oriented. World Photography Day, which is celebrated annually on 19 August, aims to encourage both mature and professional photographers to acknowledge the art, craft, and science of photography. Hence, five talented Pekingers who have taken up photography as a hobby and embraced it have shared their photography story with us.
Kritsada V. Olarte, School of Arts, Undergraduate, Thailand
The passion for photography clicked in me when I went abroad for the first time. At that time, I just wanted to keep the pictures as memories. But I didn't realize I have already fallen in love with photography then.
This picture was taken when Kritsada went on a solo trip to a small village in Chiang Mai, located in Northern Thailand. The photo reminded him of the immersive nature and the simplicity of life.
Photography helps me to remember my life, the people in it, and the places I visit, in far greater detail, and depth than if I had not taken a photograph. Being able to record memories is one major reason why I love photography. Photography has also allowed me to capture moments in my own life that I would never want to forget.
Giulia Interesse, School of Government, Ph.D., Italy
The first time I held a camera in my hands, I was probably in primary school. Both my parents are very creative people, and I have been surrounded by pictures for as long as I can remember. My mum is very meticulous in keeping all the family photos in order so that we can go back and look at them from time to time. I guess we can say that photography has always brought me close to home in a way. I was in junior high school when I got my very first digital camera. I have brought it everywhere with me ever since: it's been a solid companion for about fifteen years now! Crazy to think about it. I learned by doing, literally. I refused to follow any precise guide at first, and simply just got out there and started taking pictures of anything that caught my eye. Then came editing… Photoshop was already a thing back then, and I remember vividly looking for tutorials and fun ways to play around with my original shots.
Giula has an avid eye to capture every single angle of the city and its people. It makes her heart fill with wonders.
Photography tells stories, in a way that sometimes would be impossible to narrate otherwise. Which story though, that is hard to tell. The photographer may want to convey something at first, but when another observer approaches the same shot, might find something very different. So this communication does not really go both sides. Maybe, within photography, we are able to find the stories we are looking for.
Bryan Foo, School of International Studies, Undergraduate, Singapore
I first started photography as a casual hobby in 2013, taking photographs of flowers and plants using my mobile phone. I later joined my school's photography society and had the opportunity to try my hand at event photography. There was much joy in photographing meaningful and memorable moments of my peers having fun at various school activities, events, and celebrations. Recently, I had started exploring a new genre of photography – street photography.
Bryan took this photo in Bethlehem during his trip to Israel. It depicts a wall that was used to demarcate a division between the West Bank and the rest of Israel. The picture tells a story about conflict and separation.
Through photography, I am able to meaningfully engage with my environment, and express myself and my unique perspective through a picture. Street photography has taught me to be more observant of my surroundings, by finding interesting ways to showcase often mundane and regular street life in a creative manner. I enjoy being able to put everything else aside when taking a photo, and being completely absorbed in my surroundings and in the moment.
Hou Yushan, School of Government, Undergraduate, China
I started photography right when I started university. I like to record beautiful things in life, so I use my camera to freeze the moment. Photography is a visual collision between imagination and inspiration. It also allows you to perceive the world in a different way.
Yushan has the eye for imagination when she lay her hands on her camera and her editing applications. Her creative juices flows through every detail in her production, and she makes everything impossible possible.
Among all the pictures I have taken, this is one of my favorites. The picture was taken in Zhongshuge in Beijing. The ceiling was originally a pure reflection of what was depicted on the ground. However, I managed to do some post-editing and turned them into a starry sky, signifying lite and passion. I always hold the zest when I am able to craft this picture with my creativity, understanding, and imagination independently. To put it simply, photography is an art of creation. The subtle changes caught within a mere second with the camera allow me to withdraw from the complex world temporarily, which I believe is the charm of photography.
Beh Yik Loen, School of Journalism and Communication, Undergraduate, Malaysia
Yik Loen loves capturing the synergies between human and nature, and she is ever ready with the camera in her hands to capture more.
This picture was taken during my first autumn in China. My friend and I took the chance and went for a tour around the school. It was such a sensational experience for both of us as we were exhilarated by the different seasons we get to experience here in Beijing, as the only season we will experience in our tropical hometown Malaysia is summer. As we walk past the buildings on campus, there were scads of fallen leaves on the ground, with high-spirited children playing amongst the spread of yellow. I could not resist but take out my camera, and capture the beautiful scene of an adorable baby girl enjoying her time goofing around. I believe you would agree, with how her happiness and excitement permeate.
Writer: Aneka R. Rajbhandari, Goh Chia Chia
Editor: Pu Hairui
Producer: Amanda Hu
Photo: Kritsada V. Olarte, Giulia Interesse, Beh Yik Loen, Hou Yushan, Bryan Foo