I cover news, politics, business, sports, entertainment and features.
I discovered photography’s magical ability to freeze time in an old family picture.
I learnt basic photographic skills – darkroom operations, lighting - in a vocational school in Hong Kong. But I came to realise that was too limited to allow me to become a good photojournalist. News judgment, creativity and a feeling for aesthetics are sometimes more crucial than purely technical skills.
To develop these talents I needed experience and effort. I keep refreshing my mind by reading different kinds of books for brainstorming. I have also studied a Master’s degree in visual arts, which inspires me a lot.
My first assignment when I worked as a photographer at a local newspaper in 2005 was to shoot a road tunnel that was set for a fare rise. But shooting the tunnel was surprisingly limited as, unlike my original plan, photographs were banned inside the tunnel. It was only as I walked along the street that night after work I thought of a few better ways to frame the same content. Regrettably, the moment had passed.
From then on, my first lesson was to keep an open mind when taking photos, and never fear to come up with a new idea.
When I first became a photojournalist there was a massive protest against a World Trade Organization conference in Hong Kong. I witnessed how Korean farmers, who had travelled all the way to Hong Kong, demonstrated with dancing and fire, and how the police responded with pepper spray, water cannon and tear gas. With less than three months’ experience in the field, I was under-prepared for the scale of this event. Whenever I think of that protest, I remind myself on the importance of preparation.
Sports news interests me the most, as it’s the utmost interpretation of precision and speed. The decisive moment can be lost in a blink, but a professional can bring you images that you may miss with your bare eyes. Good photography can freeze and intensify all the motion and excitement into one frame.
I never intend to please anyone in particular while I take pictures. When I am working and in the moment I respond with my instincts. It is only when I am editing my images that I start to examine my pictures rationally and critically.
Every little mistake is a big lesson to me, but errors are almost inevitable when you’re constantly making judgments in the blink of an eye. I aim to make each error matter and prevent bigger ones from occurring.
Who do I respect most and why? I appreciate Henri Cartier-Bresson most, as his belief in “the decisive moment” is what makes photography special and irreplaceable.