Let me start this post by saying HAPPY NEW YEAR! May 2014 be your most productive and fulfilling yet!
I want to talk me for a minute, the candid photographer who recently was contacted by a unexpected person. So what is so special about candid photography? And well, what is it exactly? To begin with, what you see is what was. Simple. That is my basis for claiming the candid photographer title. I never ever pose a person or ask them to pose. The obvious exception would be family photos which I don’t really mess with, but when I do, I merely suggest my subjects to look or act a certain way and leave them to their free will. I chalk up photo-shoot success to chance and luck with a tiny nudge of direction. I don’t insert props, rearrange elements or anything like that. When I create an image I am merely capturing a moment that happened. The truest form of photography.
This doesn’t mean that I am not responsible for creating the image, rather than capturing it. It doesn’t mean a lack skill or talent, or PATIENCE. Nor, does it discount the fact that often wait for and predict events and behavior to unfold. This is where mastery of my craft comes into play. There are still many definitive factors such as, choice of location and time, camera settings, composition, color, subject, mood and when working with real world – real time elements are quite possibly the hardest to recognize. That is what makes candid photography so beautiful.
The downside is that often it is very one sided. My sided. I normally do not interject with the natural world to ask questions as I prefer to create my own and leave it up to the viewer to find their own meaning or emotional attachment. Keep that in mind to understand my excitement about this story. Imagine my surprise when I am contacted through Etsy by someone about one of my photos…
In 2011 my husband & I visited the state of New York for the first time. It was amazing. I was looking most forward to visiting the Chinatowns – my favorite areas to explore in new and old cities alike. This meat shop was captured just before dusk in the Queens area Chinatown. I actually preferred it to the big one in Manhattan. Fast forward a few years to last week when Dian Feng messaged me on Etsy telling me she was going to purchase this print to hang on her apartment wall. No big deal right? She went on to tell me that her father, Tian Lun Feng owns this shop and opened it over 20 years ago! This charming little shop has quite the history, opened in 1993 when his daughter was just 3 and has only gone through one name change! The best part of the story is when she thanked me for capturing it, and credited the shop to the a very important time in her life. Is it making you warm and fuzzy inside too??? Honestly, having her just randomly stumble upon my photograph of her father’s shop randomly while searching for Chinatown posters for her apartment decor must of been pretty freaking awesome! Dian told me that her father opens the shop every day at 8am and was curious as to when this image was taken after I pointed out the man behind the counter that can be seen through the left door. I located my digital negative to check out the EXIF data, but sadly it was taken about 4 in the afternoon and likely not her father. BOO!
I don’t know if I will ever hear back from Dian but she did promise to show my photo to her dad which is just super. So there you have it, a complete happenstance and a happy ending! Now, I finally have some backstory to add to my own. What a great way to end 2013.
The print can be purchased here: Chinatown Meat Shop.