Making Small Connections

Sometimes, especially when it comes to documentary or street photography, my favorite photos end up being based not just on the final result of the photo but on the experience of shooting that person. When I have a particularly pleasant interaction with the subject I end up being especially fond of that photograph. This has been the case with a portrait I made here in Hong Kong.

A few weeks ago I made a photograph of this very nice man at the Yen Chow Street Hawker Bazaar. I really liked how it turned out and decided to print the photo on 11x14 metallic pearl paper. I was very happy with the print and realized that I had a rare opportunity that doesn't often occur with street photography which is that I knew exactly where to find this man again and therefore could bring him a copy of the print. I decided I definitely wanted to do this because I really enjoyed the interaction we had. When I walked into the fabric market and passed by him he gave me a friendly smile and made me feel welcome (which isn't always the case when your a foreigner with a camera). I noticed his friendly, open attitude and asked him for a photograph and he was happy to let me take a few photos. Despite our language barrier (he speaks no English, only Cantonese and I unfortunately do not speak any Cantonese) we were able to share a nice moment.

When I brought the photo to give to him though we couldn't communicate orally he conveyed that he was very excited and he let me take a photo of him with his portrait. He also wanted to take a photo of both of us together with his print.

He also very happily pulled out all his fabric tools like scissors and rulers and such to show me.

Overall, this is a perfect example of why I love photography and how it allows you to connect to other people in a way that you might not be able to otherwise. We will probably never see each other again and we weren't even able to exchange names due to the language barrier but we each have a nice memory and a photo to remember it by.