Do you prefer shooting humans/portraits or landscapes, or urban scapes… What’s your favourite thing to shoot and why?
I actually take quite a lot of pictures of trash. That to me is a very candid representation of what it is like to live in a particular city. Food waste, in particular, is one of my favourites. I also enjoy taking pictures of individual trees whose unique and organic forms never stop to amaze me. I love to see how nature (trees) is/can be found within an urban environment, in order words, I try to recreate a natural experience within an urban context.
You are from Hong Kong, based in Hong Kong. How much is this place inspiring you and in which ways?
Hong Kong has a very urban setting with more people than one can ever imagine. It has also challenged me well to shoot in a crowded and busy environment. I have grown to realize that it is impossible to get every pedestrian out of the frame. In fact, I think these “imperfections”/distractions give a sense of humour to my photos. I would like to see my photos as direct and candid as possible.
What other sources of inspiration are there for you?
Apart from the contrast between nature and the urban landscape I’ve mentioned above, like many photographers, I am also very much drawn to the idea of capturing light. My liking to light and shadows, possibly under the influence of Japanese photography, has led to a tendency to overexpose.
I see you travel a lot, or go on holidays a lot, or so it seems to me. What place has impressed you most and why?
I traveled to Helsinki last Christmas and I had a great time there. I was particularly drawn to the indifferent and somewhat melancholic Finns. It has given me a great opportunity to shoot them without being confronted or asked for money in return. (I am not the one of the photographers who are always brave and quick enough to take snapshots of strangers. That explains the small number of portraits that I take.) The architecture there also has a unique vibe. I wish I could visit it again during summer.
Beside photography, what would you say is your biggest passion?
I write and I cook. https://www.facebook.com/mrjohnyip/media_set?set=a.10151525288843103.1073741825.500723102&type=3 . I’ll let the photos do the talking (something I’m trying to pick up recently)
Was there ever a moment when you had forgotten your camera and really wished you had managed to capture?
Yes and No. I had my camera with me, but it was just so cold that my shutter wasn’t working properly. That picture of frozen leaves would have been a great one. That being said, I always believe photography is all about timing. Everything’s meant to be, after all, I have already seen everything with my eyes.
Interview by Amanda M. Jansson