05 Nov

My Philosophy in Photography

It is the beautiful life moment which I love, appreciate and capture with unique and keen eyes of my own, that brings me back fresh ideas, rich imagination, and deep thinking.

I’d like to take this page talk about my own attitude, perspective and philosophy towards something I loved in life, other than showcase my photographic work.

Be A Keen Observer of Life

Photo anywhere
Being a photographer is a great joy. I am fond of taking photos because I have passion for the beautiful moment of both nature and my life which are often required an attentive eye to catch. I do not have expensive camera and lenses as what a professional photographer equipped. Therefore I have to depend on my eyes and judgment based on close observation, appreciation and imagination to life moments in creating original works.

Haitao WangIn my boyhood I used to spend much of my time watching some things like the growth of grass, a spider spinning its web, or segments of an earthworm by means of grandmother’s reading glasses. I was always curious about those interested natural phenomena and eager to know either that how it came from or that why it could be. So I had a strong desire to try to record some of the moments that I was seeing. I could afford an automatic camera with fix-focus lens until I was in my sophomore year at college. However, I had to watch and think with prudence and great care so as to avoid failure capture before each time I released the shutter, because the film was costly to me. I kept this work habit till now, even though I use digital media in stead of film for shot.

To me, life is a source of deep, fulfilling inspiration, and it makes me to be a keen observer of it and a sensitive person to notice the wonders of nature.

Seek, Discover, and Share

Photo anywhere
During my graduate study, I was grateful for the opportunities of working in so many wild places that I had never been before. Those special experiences brought my initial understanding towards the process of scientific research, especially in discovering the underlying regularity of things on the basis of a meticulous, long-term observation on the natural phenomena. Meanwhile, they also helped to shape my photo philosophy, as well as motivated the passion for photography.

FURY- Haitao WangWhenever I worked as a campus journalist, a project staff of an academic institute, or an blogger of an independent website, I used to focus on seeking new topics and carry plenty of works in shooting, writing and designing. Then they are shaped into an article together with my ideas. In my opinion, the understanding of the meaning of life from an image is more important than the technology applied to it. [*] Thus in my pictures, more than to show the color, composition, perspective, and the person or event per se, I pay more attention to express and share my personal thought and perception about them.

However, on the other hand, I do have some personal skills in photography and retouching pictures, and I could find my pleasure in writing summaries or tutorials on them for online discussion. During the spare time of my work, I am willing to teaching my colleagues who are photographic beginner about the composition and the selection of aperture for a certain scene. Sometimes I would like to discuss with my team members on how to improve the quality of a panoramic picture that would be used for our project on rural ecotourism. In my mind, unless you think that it is of a highest value to share your knowledge, to share it with anyone who is interested, that your great happiness and high fulfillment would be found, and thus both your and others’ life prospers. That’s my attitude to the meaning of life, as well as of any scientific works.

Philosophy of photography

I consider photograph as an art derives from life, while sometimes a record of life. These two emphases are mutually exclusive in my photography work.

Why do I say that? I will give my explanation in dealing with two scenarios: photo is an artwork, and is a documentation of facts.

1. Photography as an artistic creation

Littel Planet - Haitao Wang As a young man who is used to think in a rational and reasonable way while to live with sensibility and emotion, I usually have distinctive personal appreciation and aesthetic feelings towards life. These emotions are expressed in the performance of creation of photograph works which consists of three stages. I choose and capture the scene from the camera viewfinder in my own perspective at first, and then take photo manipulation on the basis of my imagination in software, such as adjusting the tone, changing the curve, placing elaborately designed pattern etc. Finally, I add my interpretation by setting a title or writing a short comment and annotation in an unobtrusive way. In a nutshell I am trying to portray an imaged world based on a raw material derives from real life.

In the creation of photo art, I will take advantage of digital means such as HDR, image projection, photo manipulation, or use artificial light to have something more interesting or beautiful. In this situation, these photos represent my subjective senses, personal aesthetic standards. In a sense, I retell a vivid story in my personal visual language.

2. Photography as a record of facts

A good natural scientists has to let nature speak for itself, thus all the pictures recorded as the witness of life and nature must be objective and natural. As a result, on my documentary photos such as those fieldwork pictures, I do not touch them up, tinting, or false vignetting in any way, even if they do not look nice as those I mentioned above. In compared with art creation, scientific work is a kind of rational thinking which is based on fact and logic.

Therefore in this scenario, I keep a faithful, objective record of life without doing any decoration.

3. Photography is something of personal

To me, photography is only of a personal hobby rather than to make it a profession. I create my works out of my love to life, or the necessities of a research work.

(Written in 2011)

(Update: November, 2014)