Shibuya Station

Shibuya Station

Monday, November 10, 2014

9 Months in Hong Kong and Counting


I've hit the 9 month mark living in Hong Kong and as I reflect back on my work from earlier in the year, I feel like I've seen a lot of growth in what I've been able to produce lately.  So how did I experience so much growth?
Well first of all, I shoot A LOT more than I used to.  Every time I step out of my apartment, I have my camera with me and not only is it with me, its either on my wrist or around neck.  Its always ready. I've come to realize that moments often present themselves when you least expect it.  Many of the images that I've captured would certainly have been missed if I had to fish my camera out of my bag. I also make it a point, at least 4-5 days out of the week, to go out with the sole purpose of shooting.  It takes a lot of discipline to keep it up when its not your profession but I truly believe Hong Kong has got to be one of the top destinations for street photography in the world and having made the move here, I made a commitment to myself that I would make the most of it.

Equipment

You can probably ask 10 people about the best equipment to shoot with and you'll probably get 10 different answers.  For years I've had various Leica bodies and lenses but I didn't exclusively shoot Leica.  In fact, my primary camera of choice was the Canon 1Dx (a beast of a camera) and the Sony RX1.  It was not long after moving to Hong Kong that I really started to embrace the Leica M system and I have since gone all in.  I still have my other bodies but have not touched them in months.  The Leica M240 and Leica MP (film) just feels right and suits my style of shooting.  I love the rendering of the Leica lenses and find that I typically need very little post production work on my images.  Yes, it is insanely expensive but I've grown so comfortable with the system that I feel like its an extension of me. 

Can I capture the same images with a less expensive camera?  Absolutely!  With the explosion of amazing mirrorless cameras that are currently in the market such as the Sony A7 (S and R),  there are many choices out there that will give any photographer the features and quality to handle any shooting situation.  For me its a choice and after having put about 10,000+ images though my M240 in the last 5-6 months, its the only digital body I want with me when I venture out.

Finding Inspiration

I've read countless blogs on street photography and a common theme that you'll hear is that you should study the masters.  There is no doubt that internationally acclaimed masters such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Martin Parr, Gary Winogrand and Elliott Erwitt have produced incredible work, but its not where I've gotten much of my inspiration.  I've had the opportunity to meet other local photographers and have drawn much of my inspiration from the relationships I've built locally.  Sure they may not be internationally recognized masters but I find the work they produce to be incredible.  

One such photographer that I've gained the most from is +Gazzaroonii T.. I've had the opportunity to shoot with alongside him on quite a few occasions.   Seeing the work he's been able to produce, seeing how he visualizes a scene, and having him to bounce ideas off of has really challenged me and my process. I see things a little differently then I may have 9 months ago.  I guess the message here is to surround yourself with other like minded photographers and be that source of inspiration for each other.

The other thing I've learned is to be your own worst critic.  This is still an opportunity of growth for me but I've made a lot of progress.  I used to post a lot of pretty mediocre work, and some may argue that much of it still is, but I've really made an effort to edit my images down to what I really feel is the best representation of what I can produce.  At the end of the day photography is very subjective and some will love it, some will like it and some will just think its crap and that is okay.  I've posted it because I like it and I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I feel it's worthy of sharing.  If others like it, well then thats just a bonus :)

One thing that I will challenge a lot of you just starting out to do is to revisit and evaluate some of your older work.  For me, looking back at my images from when I first got to Hong Kong to what I produce now shows a real evolution in how I visualize, capture and process an image.  Its really forced me to think about how that evolution came to be and what that catalyst was for the change. For me personally, my goal is to continue to do the things that have fueled that growth.  Who knows what the future will hold for me.  

Looking back at the last few months, here are just a few of some of my favorites.

















Thanks for stopping by!

Jasen

#Leica, #Streetphotography, #HongKong