‘City Snapshot’ is a monthly feature where an Instagrammer tells This is on their foray into photography and the images that inspire them. Here’s a roundup of the featured photographers for Spring 2022.
The April issue: @chaominzeng
Zeng Chaomin got his hands on a Canon 1000D in 2008 and became “fascinated by the shooting process”. The following year, he bought a Sigma DP2 which he carried everywhere and took a real interest in the scenes he found on the streets. Now he’s rocking a Fujifilm X100V. Zeng has worked and lived in Dongguan, Guangdong Province for 14 years. Asked about the composition, Zeng says he doesn’t have a specific formula but pursues scenes with “dramatic lighting, captivating colors, and most importantly, interesting people.”
“My favorite and most popular photo that I took and shared on social media is of a Meituan courier smoking before his shift. I asked his permission before taking the photo. At the beginning , he thought I was a supervisor for Meituan and refused.Then after being convinced he let me take a picture of him smoking but he was still very careful and turned his back on me – which I liked even better because it made the atmosphere of the photo more mysterious.
The May issue: @annnndddyyy_f
Wanting it for years but lacking the time and catalyst, Andy took up photography at the start of the pandemic. When he goes on a photo shoot, he looks for urban areas with classic Hong Kong elements like neon signs, trams, red taxis and old architecture. He says This is, “it gives an ‘identity’ to the image, a Hong Kong identity”, and evokes memories that people might have of the city. He also looks for scenes with intense contrast where “the boundaries between light and shadow are clearly and very hard defined”. At night, he enjoys taking photos in Central where the skyscrapers and purple and blue lights give him a futuristic feel like “walking on another planet.”
He believes that photos are stories that a photographer tries to convey. To distinguish a great photo from others, the story must be easily identifiable, there must be depth and complexity, and the colors must accurately represent the story told. “In the photo showing the red minibus turning left at an intersection, I captured this shot by pure chance. I had been standing on an overpass overlooking the intersection for about 15 minutes, waiting for the perfect shot of a taxi or a red minibus to enter the frame with traffic all around. I had given up and had started to pack my bags when, at that moment, a minibus came speeding around the corner the street, without any other car blocking the minibus in the photo.
“Hong Kong is a paradise for street photographers. In neighborhoods with older architecture, like Sham Shui Po or Sai Ying Pun, there is always something to photograph. Whether it’s the bustle of a wet market or the beautiful facades of old Hong Kong buildings. This makes for an easy shot that has depth and a clear subject.
Andy uses a mirrorless Sony a7R IV and loves its fast autofocus capability which allows him to capture such stunning street scenes with movement and detail in low light situations.
The June issue: @hwang199
Aptly named Wang Hong, his Instagram account has just under 16,000 followers. While studying architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Wang became addicted to bold and wide-ranging photography styles on Instagram.
After returning to Hangzhou, he dove headfirst and balances professional photography with lectures on architecture at Ningbo University. When asked how to take a striking photo, he tells us that the scene itself is less important than the composition. On cloudy days, it will seek out light and contrast to bring out a dramatic effect. He adds that a bit of luck is also crucial because a great photo tells a story or captures an inimitable moment.
His favorite, he says, is titled “Wish You Were Here” and features the nostalgic phrase emblazoned on a black hoodie with Pudong’s otherworldly skyline behind it.
“It was January 8 and I arrived there at 4 am. It was eight below zero and I wasn’t wearing gloves. However, I put on a thick down jacket for the shoot. I will be forever grateful to the model from Shanghai who waited until 5 a.m. for the light to be just right before ditching her heavy coat in favor of a hoodie for the shoot. He adds that the clouds in this photo are particularly powerful — sure.worth the long and cold wait.
Wang uses Sony A7R III and FX3 cameras for stills and insists that DJI “definitely makes the best drones”. He tells us his Mavic 3 takes high-quality 10-bit color photos and has a strong enough signal that he doesn’t have to worry when he’s in the air. The Mavic 3 has an insane ceiling and range that is often only limited by the software itself. This proves a key attribute when shooting grand cityscapes like Shanghai or Tokyo, which Wang admits are his favorite skylines to capture.
Here’s how the This is Shanghai @thatshanghai The Instagram account works: users hashtag their images #thatsshanghai and we select the best of them to reprogram, identifying the original photographer.
[Cover image via @hwang199/Instagram]