Mona Cheng and students
As an art form, photography is a strong medium that not only captures the essence of time by simply being in the right place in the right moment. It is an art of seeing that can express one’s perception and manipulation of the mundane things around them.
“Look Left, Look Right” was this year’s CCA focus as students explored the realms of street photography and were challenged to attend to visual contexts more closely than ordinary ‘looking’ and to capture things that otherwise might not be seen.
With photography reflected as a way of seeing, CCA students ventured out on a series of learning journeys around Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen, Sai Ying Pun, and Central Soho area. Such opportunities allowed the CCA students to be fully engaged as they gained valuable hands-on experience in their journey of self-expression.
Under the special guidance of fine art street photographer, Michael Kistler, students were prepped by learning the functions and proper use of the digital camera and photographic essentials such as rules of third, light and composition before setting out to apply their knowledge and skills by going high and low to experiment with unconventional points of views and making use of learnt street photography concepts of leading lines, reflection, abstract, and the beauty from Hong Kong urban landscape and architecture.
“The photography CCA at SIS has been a great opportunity to work with students to expand their photography skills and knowledge. The major emphasis for the course has been to use composition to change how the students see the world around them. We spent time looking at a variety of compositions as well as techniques for shooting Hong Kong more creatively and abstractly. As is evident with their exhibited photographs, the students have all made significant progress in their ability to express themselves artistically through their camera lenses. Each student has his/her own unique voice that comes through in their photography.”
“My theme is “Anonymity”. Anonymity, according to the internet, means “lack of outstanding, individual, or unusual features; impersonality”, which, in my case, is untrue. My “Anonymity” works show urban city lifestyle at its finest, yet veiling the subjects from the viewers in a certain way that creates an abstract contrast to the background. What really inspired me was skimming through a book about Michael Wolf’s Tokyo Compression project. I really loved some of the photos, because they seemed to shield some parts of the people’s faces, and made me think about what they were thinking at that time the photo was taken. I learnt a lot more about photo selection, because before joining Photography Group 2, I always had trouble with choosing which photos to select. I also learnt a lot about thinking of a theme and sticking to it, using it as a benchmark to shoot photos. I really enjoyed going outside of school to places in Central like Soho, and many more. By looking at all the cityscape from different angles, it made me think about how there were so many interesting things in Hong Kong that I’d never even known about before. At first, I had a lot of trouble coming up with a theme, but after selecting 10 photos of my choice, then asking for help from Michael and Miss Mona, we finally came up with my theme, “Anonymity”. In the future, I would like to take some courses on portraiture and taking pictures of faces and people, because I am interested in capturing people’s emotions.“
– Caitlyn Tang (P6 RT)
“My theme is “Loving Urban”. It focused mainly on urban graphics. The theme involved a lot of vibrant colours and interesting perspectives. I only included pictures that I felt were up to standard and fit my theme perfectly. While collecting these photos, I explored a whole new universe of diversity and nostalgia. I saw creative street art upfront and understood what emotions the artists were trying to portray. In the CCA, I was inspired by looking at the art of other artists and incorporating them into my own artwork. I have learnt how to look out for different artworks and “moments” and capture them quickly. I enjoyed the trip to Tai Kwun the most as I learnt a lot from that trip. I didn’t really have any major problems as most of the tasks were pretty simple as long as you listen attentively and follow the instructions. “
– Natalie Ng (P6 RT)
“I chose to further expand my learning about dashes of bright colours so, my theme this year is “Colour Rush”. I was inspired by my dad who loves to take photos. Upon joining this photography CCA, I enjoyed going out to photography field trips the most as we get to try out new photography skills. One challenge I faced in the process was that I got always confused by the camera settings and accidentally messed them up, but thanks to my awesome photography teachers, Ms Mona and Teacher Michael, I learnt how to turn the settings back to normal. One thing I would love to learn is how to use Photoshop and to edit my photos even better. This Photography CCA has been real fun and I am happy to continue next year in secondary school!”
– Sara Tom (P6 RE)
“In this CCA I have learned that I have to be patient: I cannot just immediately expect to become a very skilled photographer. I enjoyed taking photos the most, even though we had to carry our bags with us. We got to visit different places to take pictures. One of the challenges that I faced was that I was too impatient so, when I tried to take a picture I couldn’t find the right angle. As a result, I was not always able to take that picture because I wasted a lot of time, and we needed to move to another location. Nevertheless, this experience helped me reflect on the reason why I was facing such challenges and to plan how to improve in the future. ”
– Zachary Gan (P4 RY)
“My theme is “Unique Urban Nature”. This means that patterns or shapes in urban nature as well as the process of taking pictures of urban nature are unique. I find unusual things in nature and try to take a picture of them using the angle that makes it look even more unique. At first, I took a few random pictures, and I found that I liked the ones with nature the most. After a while, I realised that the word “nature” is too general. I thought that there were many interesting shapes and patterns in the nature, so I narrowed my theme down to “Unique Urban Nature”. I learnt how to be more creative when taking pictures, such as using different angles, not just taking common pictures like landscapes. One of the challenges was that sometimes we went to take pictures in places with little nature. I had to look carefully for any plants and try to make my photos look unique. In the future, I want to go to places with more nature so I can expand my creativity, since I want to have a greater variety of pictures. I like my theme so far, but this will not stop me from exploring other themes.”
–Lydia Lu (P6 HY)
“My theme is “Nature in the City” which is related to plants and animals, so most of the photos depict plants but I want more photos of animals. I like animals, and that inspired me to take photos of animals. Normally, I don’t see many animals in the city, so I decided to also take pictures of plants. In the CCA, I learnt about reflections and angles that you should be aware of in order to make your photos look more interesting. I also learnt what the different parts of a camera are called. I enjoyed going out to take photos. There are a lot more to take outdoors than indoors. In addition, I enjoyed creating albums and selecting photos — the two activities I did not expect I would actually like. Since I joined SISHK only in August 2018, at first I did not have any friends in the Photography CCA as I did not know anyone. There were a few of my classmates, whom I did not know very well at the time. It was really boring without a friend. Gradually, students from the CCA started recognizing me in school and saying “hi” to me, which was very nice. Now, even when we meet outside of school, we greet each other and have a small talk.
In the future, I would like to visit places where I can see a lot of animals so I can take more pictures. I will always carry my camera with me when I go on a trip to take more pictures of what interests me the most.”
– Mingyi Huang (P6 CE)
“My theme is “Nature”, which means that I take pictures of flowers, trees and and other objects that look colourful and inspiring. What inspired me the most was some beautiful flowers on one of our trips outdoors. In this CCA, I learned about the parts of the camera, angles, reflection and side view that can help in photography. Making weird angles can make photos interesting. Also, you must be ready when you are out taking photos as you do not know when you will see something interesting. I enjoyed making albums and sorting my photos the most, because it was online and we could share them with other people that might be inspired by the photos. The challenges that I faced were that the lense was blurry when I zoomed in and so I could not take many photos that I planned to take. Sometimes I had to take more than one photo of the same thing because it came out blurry first. I will further expand my work by thinking of more themes and taking my camera out more to take more photos to upload to my album. I will also look for places where I can take more photos and I even consider joining Photography CCA in the secondary school!”
– Yu Tong Tan (P5 HY)