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Camera House : Better Pictures 9
PeoPle snaps Photo Friday winner, Thai Hoa Pham, reveals the secrets behind his storytelling photographic style. Thai Hoa Pham comes from a family of shutterbugs. He says all the Pham clan “love taking pictures for memories”, and that when planning for a trip his Dad would always remind them to pack the camera. “It was the most essential thing in our luggage”. When Thai was growing up he was often asked to take the family’s happy snaps and the young shooter comments that his “happiest moments” came from “looking through the viewfinder and capturing people up close, in a smile”. He adds, “Photography marks my first connection to the real world”. It is thanks to this passion for photography that Thai has the “curiosity to notice and appreciate every moment happening around me”. He admits that for him, his camera works as a visual diary, “to capture pieces of unforgettable and flashing memory; hence, I learn lots of things through my camera lens.” Thai says he often “imagines life as a movie”, and you can see a very cinematic, storytelling style in his images. “From that point of view, I play a role as an observer,” says Thai. “There is no doubt that an element of storytelling is key to the success of my final image”. If he had to describe his style he would say a “picture can talk”. Pressed to explain his creative process, Thai ponders. “Most people find their inspiration from watching a movie, reading a book or even listening to someone else’s story. For me, it is completely different, because I believe perfect inspiration comes from real life. I always carry my camera with me every time I go outside. “Walking around the city, my conceptual thinking is built up from random and varied scenarios. I tend to capture images from a variety of angles.” Given his cinematic style of shooting, Thai says that having a rapport with his subject is essential to the success of his images. “‘Cinematic’ is always about storytelling, so it is necessary that I have an interest, or connection, in sharing an emotion with the subject and its context, then the viewers are likely to understand that story through my point of view.” He says several photographers have inspired his work, most notably “Laura Maria Malucchi from 500px and US artist, Brandt Campbell. I love how they interpret the many aspects of everyday life. Every time I see their pictures I see a movie playing right in front of my eyes.” His idea of a great photo is one that tells a story and that shows a “strong connection between the photographer, subject and viewer”. He suggests that anyone wanting to take better photos should get “as close to the subject as you can, obey the rule of thirds and understand lighting”. Follow these rules he says and you’ll get a good photo every time. Asked the inspiration for his winning Photo Friday image of an abandoned playground, Thai explains that it was personal experience. “A close friend of mine moved to another place and left me here alone. On my way home, I saw the children’s playground where we used to play together. At that moment, the memory appeared in my mind, and I suddenly realised ‘you are no longer with me’.” Thai hopes that viewers of his work will share his empathy for his subjects. “I hope people can see what I saw and feel what I felt. So that people can understand the story behind the image I conveyed. For example, in the ‘Abandoned’ image, it sends the message to viewers that we need to care for everyone around us and respect everything we have.” Since joining Camera House’s Facebook page, Thai says he’s seen great improvement in his work. “Shooting different topics every week helps me to gain experience, and gives me a chance to practice and challenge my creativity. Moreover, this competition and the Facebook page also brings about the opportunity to make new friends and learn from them: their passions, style and feedback.” ■ • Canon 7D anD FujiFilm X100 • Canon 70-200mm F/4 l uSm lenS • Canon 100mm F/2.8 maCro uSm lenS • Canon 50mm lenS WhaT’s in Thai’s camera bag? ProFile SNAP HAPPY 23 023_Bpics9_peoplesnaps_v2_CORRECTED.indd 23 4/06/12 2:56 PM
Better Pictures 8
Better Pictures 10