As an addendum to my Things in Japan post, here’s another small little photo essay from Hong Kong. I’ve been enjoying walking around more in the cities I travel to. I used to do nothing but walk, but I’ve lived in Asia for 10 years now and things start to normalize after a while. You lose your sense of wonder and become detached. You watch more television and instead of going and exploring, you sit in front of your computer and answer emails and worry about your income over the next three months. The small things that gave you pause now feel simple and routine. These aren’t good ways to be. So there’s always this push and pull with creativity. You’re always battling yourself and your own worst impulses. So in Hong Kong I walked. Sometimes I would end up in familiar neighborhoods, and at other times I would find myself in a completely new area of the city. I tried not to check my phone. I tried to just wander, with the thought that if I found what I was looking for, then great. If not, then great. So here are a few quick images. Simple things. I was looking at patterns and density with small glimpses of respite within. Nothing much more.
I’m trying to loosen up a bit and change things around. It’s been nearly 10 years since I moved to Asia and I find myself skipping past things these days without giving them a second glance. Things I would have stopped for years ago. Things I would have photographed. These things normalize and we change and grow and stop being amazed by what quickly becomes commonplace, even in a part of the world as inspiring and outlandish and wonderful as Southeast Asia.
These days, I’ve gotten in the habit of leaving my camera at home when I’m not working. To clear my head, or so I’m not always be seen as a photographer. Which is all well and good and necessary, but I’ve started to crave that clutter again. I miss stopping for things. I miss those random images you collect at the end of a day walking around a city. I miss going through photographs and being surprised. And so I’ve been trying to remedy that.
Street photography means different things to different people, but at its heart I’ve always thought if it as a spontaneous kind of action. Photographs of things that moved you in one way or another at some time or other in some place or another. It’s people, places, and things. Decisive moments. Random objects. The way light falls against a building or how the colors in a frame all interact together. Street photography is simple. In a way, it’s whatever you decide it is. And so I’ve been doing more street photography, which simply means I’ve been taking more photographs. Streets have often been involved.
And so here are some things from Hong Kong. I’m shooting film, because it feels more spontaneous and I like not being able to see what I’ve captured until the rolls come back from the lab. These were all taken with a Lomo LC-A and a Leica M7, two of my favorite 35mm film cameras for their simplicity of design and user friendliness. I try to have at least one of them on me at all times these days. Because I’m embracing these things again, and you never know who or what you’re going to run into.
It’s been a great, busy start to the New Year. I’m just back from a short vacation with friends, and currently in Bangkok working on a few stories and hopefully meeting a potential new fixer for future trips. I have a bag full of film that needs processing, and I may even find my way to a record store or two while in town. Who knows.
The above image is from the top of the W Hotel in Kowloon, Hong Kong, where I was just a few months back working on a large story with a very large US company. We were all taking an afternoon break on the roof deck, and someone put their hand on the glass wall overlooking the epic cityscape below. I really like the image. It’s simple and graphic, with just enough strangeness.
Over my short vacation with friends, I updated my main website, Aaron Joel Santos Photography. All of the galleries are side scrolling now, which is something I’ve always loved. I think it gives more context to the images. I’ve also just generally updated all the sections. So take a minute, or five, and have a look.
I was in Hong Kong this past weekend working with the Mott Visuals Weddings team on an absolutely gorgeous and luxurious destination wedding that took place across the city. Beautiful people, epic locations, and a buzzing metropolis make for easy image taking on my part. Here are a few outtakes from the day.