Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: street photography

Short travel reflection: Photographing people and streets

Lately I’ve developed a special interest in street photography, especially in photographing people, and I’ve had plenty of opportunities to do so while I was in Southeast Asia. While chatting with a friend and colleague, who is an aspiring photographer, we shared our experiences and talked about the types of photos we enjoy taking. My friend, who recently began to take photography seriously, said that landscapes and cityscapes attracted him, but when I told him about my recently developed interest in street photography, he couldn’t seem to understand the point of capturing photos of random strangers.

To be fair, I think I should use the term “street photography” cautiously because not every portrait is taken on what you’d call a “street” or even a city. And I’m really mostly referring to ordinary people and their everyday lives, so perhaps “people photography” is more appropriate. Anyway, our conversation provoked me to reflect on why I suddenly became so fascinated by people that I felt the irresistible urge to capture the emotions of all those strangers that I chanced upon, most of the time candidly. True, landscapes and cityscapes have vast amounts of beauty and can inspire unimaginable creativity in photography, and I myself enjoy them immensely, but people intrigue and even captivate me. When the truest and most genuine emotions or one inconspicuous moment of an individual’s life is captured on camera, for me, that is irreplaceable.

Perhaps my favourite photo taken during my first trip to Southeast Asia is that of this man sitting in Angkor Wat in Cambodia, December 2015. I was unsure if he was a worker there or a visitor, but the genuine and content expression on his face, with the hint of a sliver of a cryptic smile, made him so picture-worthy. And one ordinary person can outweigh all extravagant scenery you may see, and make the entire trip worthy. (Click here to see the original photo in colour.)

Why do we care about street photography? When people and their homes, those streets and alleys on which they set foot every day like second nature, become the subjects of interest in a photo, what does that tell us? What does it mean to us, the ones that immortalize these images? Perhaps we see a reflection of ourselves in the expressions and the movements of these strangers whom we will never meet again. And there is a certain beauty behind it that I can’t explain, an invisible connection that reminds me, through their eyes, what it is to live, to be merely human.

Street photography in Hong Kong, Cheung Chau, and Guangzhou

I love people-watching, especially in large cities bustling with life. However, I have yet to get a hang of street photography, and I often don’t feel comfortable with photographing people in public. During my most recent trip to Asia, which was in April this year, several occasions presented themselves as perfect street photography opportunities. And so I gave them a shot (pun mostly unintended). Hong Kong, Cheung Chau, and Guangzhou are places with different characteristics yet each full of interesting people, so whom did I encounter in the heart of the cities? (Coloured versions of these photos are available by clicking links at the end of the descriptions.)

Hong Kong

Modern, dynamic, glamorous, exciting – these are all words worthy of describing Hong Kong, a booming metropolis in the center of East Asia. What ultimately attracted me about Hong Kong – and I never liked to admit that I actually LIKED Hong Kong – were not the suits and ties, the fast-paced lifestyle, or the skyscrapers that hid the skies. Rather, I enjoyed observing the ordinary everyday lives of the locals, savouring the small yet irresistible joys of street food, and getting lost in a sea of people trying to find their way, just like me. Hong Kong has many sides, and what will you find in its people?

I took a swift shot of this elderly gentleman as he walked past me, not looking too pleasant – hopefully not because I was taking a photo of him. The sharp look in his eyes seemed to be able to pierce through even the most rigid of souls. (Click to view photo in colour.)

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: