Where are you from and how did you get into street photography?
Hello, I am Ho Yin Chan, Scofield. I live in Hong Kong and I am a Chinese Literature and Visual Art Teacher in high school. At the same time, I am a Street Photographer . I’m interested in urban exploration, walking and snapping photos like a “flaneur” walking in modern Paris.
Back in my school days, I was interested in the studies of Urban Imagination, especially in the comparative literature between Japanese and Chinese and sometimes works on creative writing. I never saw myself fitting into a business city and concrete jungle like where I live. With print media declining, I became a school teacher. The only pleasure I could get was from photography – it allows me to represent my feeling via images, heals me from negative emotions, and pushes me to keep going further.
Are there any street photographers in particular that you draw inspiration from?
I’m not engaged with photography many years yet but I read many books during my university life about photographic theory and famous photographers all over the world. As for street photographers, I love Magnum photographers, such as Steve McCurry and Alex Webb. Their works shocked me in a good way, regardless of the subject matter, color and composition. For theory, I love the idea of “Punctum” from Roland Barthes. I think photography is not only focusing on the aesthetic presentation, but also concerning the representation of the world, what is happening and how we feel from there.
Where is your favorite place to take photographs and why?
I love my city, Hong Kong, an oriental city combined with western features. I go photo shooting on a random street and alley every week, to listen local stories and shoot it for record. That is my motherland, I want to represent what I feel and my ideas to the world.
I noticed some of your recent work features many masked faces as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. How has coronavirus affected your street photography so far?
I love seeing my work representing what’s happening in this world via people’s behavior and reaction on the street. But under the risk of COVID-19, we can’t really “see” their face reaction and the city looks dry. People are more isolated from each other because of fear. Recently, I won the Monochrome Category in the National Geographic Whellock Hong Kong Photo Contest 2019, but due to COVID-19, the ceremony was cancelled. This is disappointing but understandable under this pandemic.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in street photography and how have you overcome them?
I am still learning how to strike a balance of selecting pictures to publish between popularity to public and my own preference. To better capture the eye ball, those works may not be my favorite; some of my works looks normal but that may have some elements I love, elements that may not be recognized by the general public. I wish one day I could get more people to pay attention and appreciate these minor elements.
What is your most memorable moment or photo from street photography?
I love shooting at the local wet market, vivid colors from lighting and meats, fishes, fresh vege and fruits. Locals shuttle through the crowded, dirty, and narrow streets making the photo look like an oil painting, and different compositions can be found within few seconds. “Vitality” is what I can find there.
What has street photography taught you?
Street Photography is a self-learning journey. During the exploration, I learned to keep my focus on myself, to understand and learn how to please myself. I know what I really care about and what I really enjoying doing, and so I cherish what I care about and move towards what I want to be.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about Ho Yin and see more of his work, be sure to visit his Flickr photostream. This photographer was selected from our Flickr group (Street Photography Magazine), where we regularly choose photographers’ work to be published in our magazine.