Post image for Hong Kong Confidential: The photography of James Yeung

Hong Kong Confidential: The photography of James Yeung

October 9, 2009

This week’s Photog Friday features James Yeung. A relative newcomer to the world of the lens, James is quickly cutting his teeth in the world of street photography. Several of his amazing images have been featured in flickr’s prestigious Explored section. When did James start his photographic adventures? What’s next? Read on as we spend a few minutes with an up-and-comer.

Appraisal Time  ©James Yeung

James Yeung

Name: James Yeung

Country of residence: Hong Kong

Brief Bio:
I work full time as a lawyer in Hong Kong. I bought my first DSLR, a Canon 450D, in July 2008. Six months later, I upgraded my camera to Canon 5D MKII. Still a novice in photography and learning new photographic techniques by each day.

How did you first get interested in photography?
As soon as I picked up my first DSLR!

When I started taking pictures, I noticed there were a lot of details in life that have gone unnoticed before. Since then, I have paid particular attention to the details in life, especially the emotions and actions of people, and have tried to capture all of that with my camera.

Its a world of you and me ©James Yeung

Its a world of you and me ©James Yeung

What do you like to shoot?
People on the street. I have been inspired by a lot of fellow street photographers and I have found shooting people on the street gives me most satisfaction. Street photography is an unique genre in photography because every photos are different. Even if you line 10 photographers on the same spot, none of their work would be the same. There are so many unforeseen and uncontrollable factors that could make (or break) a particular street photograph, so if you click the shutter at that particular moment, you might get a wonderful photograph with everything fitting in perfectly. You may get a completely different photograph 1/10 second later.

What’s your approach to photography, your philosophy? What do you look for? How do you set-up a shot?
My philosophy is “One picture, one story”. There is always a story behind every shot and it is for the photographer to capture and present it to the viewers, and it is for the viewers to interpret the story. Sometimes the emotions of the people or the interaction with others would give you helpful hints to interpret the story but sometimes you need a lot of imagination to tell what the story behind is.

I look for interesting moments on the street that my viewers can use their imagination to tell a good story.

Lighting is crucial. I always find a place where lighting is adequate so that I can catch the subjects sharply. I almost never use flash as this would spoil the mood completely. I also try to catch the subjects candidly, so that their expressions would be at the most natural state. A good lens is important too. My EF135mm f2L is my best companion in street photography.

What is the best photo you have taken? Why? Background and details, please…
This is a very difficult question. Ask me one hour later, I’ll probably give you another answer. At this minute, I’ll choose (this): Lost.

It was taken in Tokyo and the girl looked a bit lost and confused. I am pleased how this turns out for its cinematic feel.

Confessions of an Angel ©James Yeung

Confessions of an Angel ©James Yeung

What gear are you using? What else do you want to buy?
My camera is Canon 5D MKII. Great for night photography with its strong ISO capabilities with minimal noise. I have the EF135mm f2L lens for street photography and EF50mm f1.4L for closer subjects. And a standard EF24-105mm zoom lens for landscape shots if I go on vacation.

What else do I want to buy? I am actually quite pleased with my gear but if I have to name one, it would probably be the EF70-200mm f2.8 lens.

Which area of photography would you like to explore further (macro, landscapes, portraits)
I hope to work further on street photography. Apart from that, I really love to try my hands on studio shots with strobist setups etc.

On Guard ©James Yeung

On Guard ©James Yeung

Where do you see your photography 5 years from now?
Hopefully I can quit my day job and concentrate more on photography, but that will obviously mean that I can make some money on my photography work.

What the best advice you would give to fellow photographers?
Take as many pictures as you can. Learn from experience is the best tutorial you can get. There are no rules in photography. I am not a big fan of one-third rule etc. Follow your hearts and create your own style.

Where can we find your images?

Want to be profiled on Photog Friday? See the information page.

nictay October 11, 2009 at 3:04 am

You rock James! 🙂 Proud of u!

Wu October 12, 2009 at 2:28 am

A true talent.
Keep up your great work my friend,

Fabrice Drevon October 12, 2009 at 6:53 am

Bravo James, very interesting interview which adds depth to your flickr stream.

Best regards,

XpatScot October 12, 2009 at 10:26 am

Great interview, James. When it comes to street photography at night you’re up there with the best and the gear can only take you so far; the rest comes from within.

Secretgarden October 12, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Cool interview!

Josephine October 12, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Clap clap clap! so much well deserved to be printed out somewhere and tell the world there’s a rising James from HK! Woot!
So proud of you,too! Hurrayyyy!

Jérôme Aoustin October 21, 2009 at 8:14 am

Beautiful work James! You definitely have a natural talent for portraits and street photography. Best of luck to you!

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